Archives: October 2003
Fri Oct 31, 2003
I have read Timothy Ferris before. He's great at science writing for the semi-washed masses. Then again, I just love reading Hawking too.
Then there's Dustin and the blacklist. You know, in a way it's admirable he's putting his name where his mouth is, insisting he be on it, asshatted or not. At least now I know a movie not to go see. Some of us will get together for Matrix Revolutions a week from tomorrow. Woohoo! Can you imagine The Matrix without guns? Or with an anti-gun message? That would be sick.
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Posing: A Question
Hey blogosphere babes, would you pose for a Women of the Blogosphere pictorial in Playboy, given the opportunity? Kevin really wants to know.
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Like I need this.
My client has an annual Halloween parade of the kids in daycare, in costumes, around the offices. It's amazingly cute! Everyone brings candy and hands it out as they go by.
So there are bowls and boxes and bags of leftover candy at some of the desks. I went up to see someone, who wasn;t at her desk, and she had 3 Musketeers and Kit Kats. So I grabbed a 2 Musketeers and then ate it out in reception while talking to the receptionist, who was eating a Snickers. I observed I preferred Milky Ways, and she said she loved 3 Musketeers. Then she told me who had the Snickers, which I go crazy over. If I am buying Halloween candy I have to buy a bag of those for me to inhale, and one for kids.
So I went and grabbed me a couple Snickers and a Kit Kat (my sister's favorite), and a 3 Musketeers for the receptionist.
You know, many people would consider a receptionist to be sort of a lowly job anyone can do. Ha! A good receptionist is worth appreciating and paying well. She has to keep track of who is in and out, know who everyone is and be able to locate them, or know they aren't available. She has to have an idea who might show up and what to do with them. She's hostess of the reception area, expert on operating the phones effectively, the person the delivery people and vendorps see first and most. She sorts the mail, and makes sure everyone gets their mail and depo transcripts in a timely manner. She has to be pleasant no matter what, and know how to deal with difficult or unexpected callers. She guards the gate. In this case, she calls for service if needed for the printers and faxes. If someone pages me, she just has to hear me say "somebody paged me?" when I call in, and she knows who it was and probably what the problem is.
Secretaries fill in for her, but nobody is as good, and most of them hate doing it. I always thought the first person we would hire besides me and my partners would be a reception/phone answerer/gopher/support call routing person, and knew that would be a big plus to have.
But back to the candy!
Mmm... Snickers. What a great meal! Hell of a thing. In the past nearly two days I have eaten some bread and peanut butter, then 4 mini candy bars. I am certain when I weigh myself I will be at a new low! Which is to say, having first dropped from 283 down to 255, then hovered at 258 to 263 for a while, I am sure I will finally be below 255. If I am lucky, I will break 250, which will be a huge psycholgical boost. Yay!
I have rather amazing restraint. I am known as the candy man and always have a bunch of candy in the office.
The other day I left a bunch of Twizzlers from a big container of them, the 1/4 or more still left, in the break room because they were getting too stiff. I seldom think to touch them. Despite that they are right there!
Normally I also have a tub of Sunkist Fruit Gems. I have been pigging out! That's right, I hade three of them in two days. After not touching them for weeks. Despite that I love them and they are right in my face. Well, not my face exactly, but out on a bookcase in the hall, next to several volumes of VB6 documentation from Microsoft Press.
My M&M dispenser has been looking forlorn for a couple months. Usually I have it full of plain M&M's, sometimes Peanut. In the past I used to fill it with jelly beans a lot. Good ones, but not overpriced. BJ's used to carry an off brand of generic gourmet beans, which wasn't cheap but wasn't bad and were quite yummy. Then they switch to Jelly Belly; more money and about half the size. I don't think so!
My latest thing was stocking Swedish Fish, but I can single-handedly inhale a box of those in a few days. If I restrain myself that much!
I haven't been to BJ's lately to restock, nor have I been as flush as usual. It's appealing to people who stop in here, having the candy they can snag. One of these days I have to at least get a new container of Fruit Gems. Mmm... candy!
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Encouraging Buyers. NOT!
This is a good legal result, and I agree, a big black eye for Lexmark in the PR department. As if I didn't already lean toward HP for printers (but would never buy their computers unless forced or, you know, given one), now I would have to be persuaded real hard to buy a Lexmark printer. Besides the one I bought many years ago, which was never anything put excellent. Even if the ink was outrageous, even more so than other brands, and harder to find.
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Justice O'Connor Goes Insane
Lots of comments appear over here debating the depth of said insanity.
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My Kids. Butt Out!
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It Was A Dark And Stormy Night...
Well, not really... But it made a fun title!
I grew up in a small town in southeastern Massachusetts, 1/3 mile off the main road, on a dirt road, the only house in the middle of woods and an adjacent field, nearly overlooking a swamp known for odd things like people going in and never coming out. Just up the street a ways more, perhaps a 10th or so of a mile, was my father's auto body shop. That did directly overlook the swamp, at the edge of the dropoff to it.
Sometimes he would throw parties there; things like New Year's Eve or Halloween. After all, a nice, big area that could be cleaned up, cars out, tools as away as possible, benches, chairs, tables, food and booze brought in; not a bad idea at all. This particular one was probably in 1969, but I may be off a year, most likely in the direction of 1970. It was Halloween.
When you pull into the road, you curve to the left, then to the right again, leaving you pointed in not precisely but close to the same direction as when you turned off the main road. The first turn pretty much hides what lies beyond..
As a joke for the party, my father and brother tipped a car on its side in "car wreck" formation. They smashed the windshield, put a dummy through it, and spread red paint all over the place. And you wonder where I get my sense of humor? Wonder no more.
As a special touch I was especially amused by at the time, they put a battery off in the woods and wired it to the car to power the lights, but if someone looked closely, hey, no battery! Oooh... mysterious.
As my father said, "most people looked at it ,figured it out and laughed."
But one guy, who would later go on to be my aunt's second ex-husband, "got so worked up he dropped and broke an expensive bottle of liquor, then came running into the garage to call the police." Heh. I can just see that. He was pissed when everyone laughed at him and told him it was a joke!
The next day, I ran into some girl and boy from the neighborhood out on the main road examining and discussing the joke wreck. Tara, the girl, ended up immediately becoming my best friend for the rest of elementary school, until puberty made me uncomfortable to have the friendship with a girl. We both hung out with the boy a lot, and it irks me no end that I can't remember his name. He was a good friend too. I spent time at his house, hung out with him alone or both of them all the time, and then his family moved to Weymouth. Yeah, I remember where they moved, and being most unhappy about it, but I am totally blocked on the kid's name!
That makes the particular Halloween time all the more significant. I vividly remember the wrecked car joke, but then in association with it being there for the curious, I met some cool kids and was a bit less reclusive with respect to what passed for the neighborhood out on the main road.
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Thu Oct 30, 2003
Eric The Graphics Guy
You see the cute elephant graphic at the top of the page? My friend Eric did that for me, based on an ancient (like dating back to the twenties) trademark used on paper for the late Elhide Company, my uncle's company for which I originally intended this domain.
I thought it would be nice to point out his web site for your perusing pleasure. He's one of the nicest guys in the world and has really helped me out at times. Then again, the first time he needed to file busines taxes, I put my tax preparer hat back on and helped him with that too.
Currently he is doing tattoo work as much as anything, and he has a gallery of his tattoos as well as the other site content. Some of them are extremely cool, and I am not into tattoos. I saw ones I might actually be willing to get.
Check it out!
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You Are Getting Sleepy...
So a while ago I started noticing I was falling asleep inexplicably. Well, or not, since I slept for about five hours and could have kept going.
Then I realized that I was awfully warm and that was making me fuzzy. So I checked the heat.
Why it was at almost 80 I will never know! I wouldn't put it that high, so the HVAC guys must have done it last time they did maintenance, and I just never noticed. Most of the year, AC is needed more than heat, and in fact AC is running now and making me comfy and wakeful.
I need to finish some things soon so I can try to visit my sister in law who owes me almost $400 that I haven't gotten yet by virtue of simply having not gone to get it. Sleep was not in the cards yet!
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Have You Heard of...
Carnival of the Capitalists? Yeah, I thought you might have! Can't imagine how though...
Well, just because you are aware of it doesn't mean you should grow complacent. That is why I am reminding you to enter a favorite business-related, or economics, post from the last week or so.
Robert Prather is hosting! E-mail entries to capitalists -at- elhide.com.
Don't forget to include the URL. My approach is to make sure the name of the blog, the URL of the blog, the URL of the post, and your idea of how you might describe the post - which might help the host out in preparing a description to go with the link, or they might just excerpt a bit - are all in there.
Try to keep them appropriate, but short or long doesn't matter. A consumer-oriented complaint/discussion of customer service practices, for instance, can be a fine entry that anyone might write without being a "business blogger." If there are business lessons there, or a wakeup call to management of such companies (never know who might be reading), it's worthy.
We like business bloggers too, so enter you guys. Analyze how to run a business, a stock, a company, a market direction, economic factors, taxes, ad campaigns... It's all cool.
Customary deadline seems to be early Sunday evening, though I know earlier can be nice depending on how the host is putting things together. I started building it during the week as I received them, to get a slight jump, when I hosted.
Missed the first ones? On the CotC page, each past week listed in the host list has the URL to that edition of CotC for convenience in finding them! Have a look if you missed any of them; they were all excellent.
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My Home Desktop
Just for giggles and something quick to post before I have to run, here is what my computer desktop at home looks like. I moved a bunch of crap off the screen a few days ago, and need to consider doing a little more of that so that for a week or two it might be neat and minimalist, rather than experiencing icon splatter.
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Hal Clement, RIP
For those who know who is from reading or seeing him at SF conventions, I just received this e-mail from the Arisia staff mailing list:
For those who haven't heard, Hal Clement passed away this morning. Don't have any further details but I thought people would like to know.
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Wed Oct 29, 2003
Whip It Good
I just laughed my ass off when I saw a Swiffer commercial with a woman dancing around to Devo with reimagined lyrics.
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I Am World Famous
I love this stuff! It's so cool and makes the world feel so small, and so much like one interlocked community.
Despite my lack of hits, my time zones are as many as I have ever seen at one time. I have had traffic from most time zones over time, but for more than 10 to show at a time is impressive. The picture below, which makes it harder to tell because I shrunk it to 70% for better fit here, shows visits from 15 zones. Woohoo!
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Sorry guys! I'm really not dead or anything, though I did get rather comatose today after a significant lack of sleep accumulated. And even so, the coma was only about 5 hours long. It was just deep enough for the pager not to wake me! So two hours later I was profusely apologizing to the person who'd paged me and the couple other people who'd needed help today.
As a result of my blog negligence (blogligence? Or would that be getting so into blogging you neglect all else?), there is a great disturbance in the
force Site Meter hits. Can't have that! A mere 115 at this hour? That's like what I should hit in the AM sometime. Heh.
Probably tonight I will reward your patience with my Halloween/childhood story post I know you've all been dying to read...
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Tue Oct 28, 2003
A little while ago I had one of those synchronicity incidents that
sometimes regularly happen to me.
expecting planning to do some fairly serious traveling relatively soon. This is somewhat out of the blue, and is not something I had presumed to do for a year or more in the future. It's only in the last day or so the trip has achieved all but complete certainty.
So a little while ago I was down the end of the room, looking in a small box of new items like mice, speakers, and small hub, seeing what I would need to order to have what my client needs plus emergency inventory for the "help, my keyboard died!" variety of incidents that happen regularly.
I happened to notice a smallish black item next to the wall, wrapped in plastic, never opened. It's been there for months, and this is the first time I said "you know, I should look at that." I ordered office supplies one time and this thing was a free bonus for ordering. I thought it was a laptop-sized carrying case for laptops or just briefcase-type contents.
Samsonite, collapsable, cheapo or it wouldn't be a giveaway premium, but perfectly serviceable luggage.
There's a small pouch that when unzipped has a modest carry-on sized bag in it that unfolds and expands. The pouch it stores in snaps to the inside of the larger bag as an internal pocket when it's in use.
There's a slightly bigger pouch with a slightly larger collapsable suitcase in it. A few more bells and whistles.
Then there's a larger pack, about 9x12x2 inches or so. Just the way it is, there's travel wallet-like storage pockets on front, and a large pocket on back. Unzip the middle and it expands into a good-sized suitcase on which the original back and front are front pockets or extensions.
Will I use them? Maybe. I do have some suitcases, depending who borrowed what, has it where, and so forth. What I normally use is a large, olive green duffel-style bag, not fancy, but roomy, flexible, and sturdy. I found it way better than standard suitcases most of the time. I also use a modest backpack as sort of an overnight bag and toiletries kit. Lately I have had that office with said toiletries and some spare clothes in it. I also have a large leather overnight bag I bought many years ago, maybe 1988-1990 somewhere. That's great, but getting ratty, with a zipper that has been broken most of the time I've had it. I still sometimes use it. For a really quick trip, it and the backpack are plenty.
Anyway, I thought it was utterly fascinating that I find this collapsable luggage, under my nose in my office, as I am planning a trip on which using it might be appropriate.
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Carnival of the Capitalists Update!
Just a quick note that I remembered not to completely forget to update the CotC permapage. Just made Insults Unpunished bold to indicate it is the upcoming location, and changed The Noble Pundit's link to http://noble.cbnoble.com/archives/000782.html so people looking there can get directly to the past CotC for that week. I had previously done this for the first two weeks, so if you are trying to locate a previous CotC, this may be the direct route to use.
Lest anyone forget, send your entries for the November 3rd edition to capitalists -at- elhide.com this week. Robert Prather will fold and spindle them into another educational and entertaining edition of CotC.
Oh right, almost forgot to remind people about the poll on potentially renaming Carnival of the Capitalists to something else. Go make your thoughts and vote heard! The results so far:
Total votes: 37
16 votes, 43%, no, leave the name the same.
10 votes, 27%, change to Wealth of Notions.
1 vote, 3%, change to Capitalist Cadre
3 votes, 8%, change to Cache of Capitalists.
2 votes, 5%, change to Market of Ideas.
2 votes, 5%, change to Cavalcade of Capitalists.
3 votes, 8%, change to something else, see comments for suggestion.
Suggestions in the comments include:
Capitalist Running Dog Collective
The Marketplace of Ideas (rather than Market of Ideas)
Prophets of Profits
Surfing From Serfdom
Anyway, go have a look if you had missed it, let yourself be heard so we can do whatever we want knowing full well lots of people diagreed.
On an unrelated note, the computer I was building had POST errors due to a jumper, not RAM, so that's back on track. Yay!
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Lack Of Cookies Today
Sorry guys, I am not sure what or when you might see for posts today!
On the overnight, I learned that my cordless office phone, nearly but not 100% fully charged, will support a call time of over 8 hours. Handy.
Now I am busier than I normally am! The computer I was building has a parts compatibility issue, and I have to order parts for two more plus assorted oddball items. I met a new lawyer this morning and had her on the network, e-mail, her personal network share created, yada yada, and all set to go with a temporary old P100, all before I was ever told officially she was being hired and would need a new computer. Heh.
Someone killed an old computer by trying to force the mouse in wrong and breaking off some of the prongs into the port.
Soemone needs a Blackberry setup to run properly, and needs addresses from it recovered onto her new machine.
Someone needs help cajoling Turbolaw into working properly to setup a new divorce case. It's been refusing. When I see it in action, could be easy. Meanwhile, that same one is on and old P200 and really needs better, so I put in a request that she be the next upgrade.
I need to check feasibility of some code changes to their case management software, which I maintain and tweak.
I need to deal with the weirdness of finding a beige keyboard was black and had an absurdly short cord, in the face of someone needing a new keyboard the cord is no good for.
That doesn't count internal stuff like doing a couple bills and cleaning the office. Ugh.
So I may be back later, late tonight, or even sooner with some quickies if anything catches my mind's eye. Just don't be expecting a lot this day. I still haven't told my Halloween tale, so I need to do that in the next couple days...
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Mon Oct 27, 2003
Now That's A Trip
The title is what I said just now in reaction to the juxtaposition of two songs.
With iTunes, it is possible to easily and smoothly play songs from a playlist - including the default one that is everything - while MP3 ripping goes on in the background. So I put the entire thing on shuffle mode.
So first Duel of the Fates played, from The Phantom Menace.
Then it segued into Another Brick In The Wall Part 2.
Never would I have intentionally stuck them in a playlist back to back! Yet... it kinda worked. And now we're revisiting The Summer of Sixty-Nine. Speaking of which, I remember vividly what a big deal New Year's Eve was that year, going from 69 to 70. The first "big number" odometer change on the calendar for me.
And now we are having No Sugar Tonight. Not sure about non-dairy creamer or pink packets though. Alrighty then... back to work!
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On A Roll
Joanie has some excellent terms for multiple bloggers of various types, and invites more.
She also has scary and amazing fire blogging photos.
She has a lot of fire blogging entries and links, so you may simply want to go and scroll. She's been on a roll lately. I kind of like the little pink alien too.
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Be Morally Supportive
Our favorite young Jedi needs all the moral support she can get. She's going cold turkey for real this time, and it ain't easy.
Go give her some encouragement!
On another note, if that's moral support, what would immoral support be? A pusher? France helping to keep Saddam in power? Encouraging debauchery? Sounds like we need Acidman's opinion on this one...
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Why Yes, I Did Receive Your Spam
It seems that the latest trend in spam, just noticed in the past day, is request of a read receipt! I have Outlook Express on this machine configured to prompt, which is fun because you can see who request them, then click no. At home I have it turned off completely.
In Outlook, hooked to my client's system, receipts are automatic, and I get most of my spam forwarded from there now. All because I registered a domain for my client, and Network Solutions aids and abets spammers or something.
Talk about adding clutter. If a significant fraction of people receiving a spam return receipts, that's plenty more mail. If the receipts go to a bogus address and bounce, there's still more.
Those crazy spammers!
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Dem Dems Can Be Funny
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Thank You For Calling Microsoft
Wow! Boy did this entry I found at this week's Carnival of the Capitalists bring back memories, and vehement agreement.
When I was doing VB support, the company went on a kick of enforcing the closing of each call with "thank you for calling Microsoft." That was relatively minor, as these things go. Later on, over in another highly technical department where they let not remotely technically, mushy management get loose to raise havoc, the highly skilled, required to have various certifications, dedicated but independent and ornery support technicians were required to start with one of those multi-sentence, awkward call introductions.
Funny incident. My supervisor was listening to a call one time and I didn't say "thank you for calling Microsoft" at the end. As he had done to two others before me, including my comedic across the aisle neighbor, who thought the whole thing was hysterically funny, he called me into his office.
I had to write "Thank you for calling Microsoft" ten times on the whiteboard. I giggled throughout, but at the same time felt demeaned.
So I dropped an e-mail to an acquaintance who was an HR assistant, asking her in an off the record, not actually trying to raise a fuss sort of way, if that was considered an appropriate thing.
The entire weight of the HR department came crashing down on my supervisor, vehemently stopping the practice, and leaving me feeling mortified ever since. Long after, when neither of us worked there any more, I still felt awful about it and told him as much - again - at one of the gatherings he attended.
Naturally from then on I always said it, but I would have been truly irate if they'd scripted us the way Photon Courier describes, the way some of the worst managers the company ever had did to other departments in an unwitting effort to drive out the most skilled people and replace them with sheep.
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Kelley has an all new Cul de Sac up, naturally, but wait!
This is not your ordinary Sac of links... It's been redesigned for greater leverage. Fewer blogs will be linked each week, but all will have a chance over the course of time. Each blog gets lavished with attention and links as a result.
Check this out! I didn't mind the old format, but I love the new one.
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This is terribly silly, I am sure, but I have never, ever needed to write someone a letter of recommendation before. I had to whip this up for a friend of mine, and thought it came out fairly well. At least, from the perspective of having no idea what something like this ought to say.
I changed names and stuff as I thought was needed, and in real life it's on the letterhead I created, which has our logo graphic and slogan on the right, address and web address in the middle, and regular, toll free and fax numbers and sales e-mail address on the right.
There's no time to change it if it's not appropriate, since the interview is in the morning. So I hope this is okay as references go:
October 24, 2003
To Whom It May Concern:
I have known Firstname Lastname for more than eight years, and have spent the better part of that time working with her.
I joined the Visual Basic support team at Support Company after Firstname was well established there. She had a background in supporting Microsoft Access, and was one of the database specialists for the entire time she supported Visual Basic. For a large part of her time there, she provided database training. Between that and mentor guidance, she taught me a significant amount of what I know.
As is typical of people with such a technical support background, Firstname is receptive to and capable of learning new information and skills readily. That can easily make up for any apparent gaps in specific skills required for a range of technical jobs.
Related to that, support technicians are trained and well practiced in jumping into the middle of unfamiliar territory. Firstname is versatile, and is capable of finding out when she doesn't know an answer. What Firstname and others who were in her position bring to the table is a broad range of experience that one might not gain focused on one project using primarily one technology and addressing a narrow range of problems or needs. In VB support, callers might be programming to a backend of Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, Access, DB2, or any number of other data sources. In VB support, callers might be trying to accomplish any of the range of tasks, using any of the available functionality, of which the development tool is capable.
All that fits with ability to learn, adapt, and quickly change focus if needed.
Being in a Microsoft environment in Access and Visual Basic support, Firstname gained extensive exposure to Microsoft Office products and the Windows operating system. Supporting applications and programming often entailed troubleshooting OS issues integrally. The same applied when it came to interoperability between products. For instance, automating Office programs from within VB programs. The same applies to interaction with SQL Server.
Firstname created some small applications while at Support Company, including a program for tracking which support techs called the mentor line for help with customer calls, and in what areas help was needed. This allowed us to determine in what areas internal training needed improvement or supplementation.
For a time, Firstname was responsible for organizing new hire training, and was called upon at times to perform technical screening interviews with prospective hires.
Firstname has at times created web sites for organizations with which she has been involved. I believe she did well at that, which crossed over into creative ability in addition to any technical ability that may have been involved. She also used the Intranet at Support Company to host database and troubleshooting tips and information she had created for the benefit of other team members.
For one of my clients, Firstname created some database queries in Access to attached SQL Server tables. More importantly, she taught the relevant client employee to create her own such queries as needed. She remains highly regarded by the people in that office, where she also assisted with computer hardware upgrades, Windows and software installations. She assisted in preparing for a bulk conversion and port of data from Access 2.0 to SQL Server 6.5 in preparation for upgrade of a proprietary legal case management tool.
I would not hesitate to employ Firstname for a wide variety of programming or other technical work for which she has existing or updateable skills, or could be trained.
If you would like to discuss Firstname's experience and potential further, don't hesitate to contact me at [my e-mail] or [my number].
Managing Partner, Our Company
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Sun Oct 26, 2003
CotC #3 Is Ready For Your Clicking and Reading Pleasure
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Name Change for Carnival of the Capitalists???
Here's the deal. There has been some concern that "carnival" in meta-blog features - collections of links - is overused. Thus the possibility of changing the name of Carnival of the Capitalists before it gets much more established.
There have been a handful of suggestions, but we are still inviting new ones if you have any. The poll below arbitrarily poses several possibilities, or you can prefer to keep the name, or you can specify that you are commenting with a different variant than those in the poll.
Here's a red flag to consider: Some of us thought Wealth of Notions was quite cool. I googled it today in quotes. It has seen surprisingly wide usage, most notably as the title of one or more economics works referred to by various sites. I am not sure whether that should eliminate the name from consideration, but I would certainly be less inclined to use it after learning that.
See what you think! Check out the poll and any comments already here when you arrive. If you see one you like in the comments, add a "me too on..." the one you liked, and choose the last answer on the poll.
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No Way To Run Things
This will be a cautionary tale, of how not to run things in various ways, as the title implies; of how sleazy people can be, or desperate if they're in financial trouble; of hubris and bubbles not just being for tech companies; of getting things clearly in writing; of noticing signs of trouble in other than hindsight; and of having correct expectations and managing a programming project both as a customer and as a developer being hired.
In 1999, I had left my support job to join the business full time. We'd been around in a sense since 1996, working out of someone's house. We got the office at the beginning of 1999, because the big client I always mention had hired us to be on call for support 24/7, and just happened to own the building and have spare space too.
There we were, my partner who had gone out to work full time for the company a year before, me, and another partner. At the time, we were still doing programming and Oracle DBA work for a rather strange client in Providence. We also had a programming project going for the big client, and support for them, and odds and ends.
One of the people who had worked for me at the support job in one of the last new hire groups got a job around the corner from us. I was even a reference that helped get him hired. Around late spring he started asking us about working on a project for them. The company was a distributor and manufaturer of eyeglass frames, which I never knew was such a huge business. Ultimately, their downfall may have had something to do with it wasn't such a huge or glamorous business.
So we eventually went on over and met with my friend, who we'll call Art, and his decidedly type-A boss, call her Dawn.
The good thing was my partner and I were perfect together for this kind of thing, which is a reason I'll miss him. Dawn was all about business needs and concerns. My partner is all about technical. She and I spoke the same language. My partner and I spoke the other same language. Art spoke in the realm of whatever would please the boss and juggle the job into staying intact and favored, a skill I'd never seen him have at the previous job.
What they needed was a program to assign and track IT department "projects." A project could be anything from adding a field to a table, to a major programming project; from fixing a computer, to ordering and setting up a new server. The basic idea could be adapted to any IT department or similar organization, such as a support department or company, where it could be modified into something like Clarify to track support incidents.
The plan was for Art to come over and work with us on it part of the time. That way someone who knew what they needed would be intimately involved, plus it wouldn't take as much work by us at the agreed rate of $100/hr.
The program would replace a cheesy Access database application that only the guy who created it, no longer employed there, really understood it. The new program could be deployed to anyone who might need it. A user would enter a work request/project description. There would be the ability for their manager to approve it or not. There would be the ability for the IT manager, Dawn, to have master control of everything, and would be able to assign tasks to specific employees.
The tricky part was queuing. They wanted to have things order by date oldest to newest, and by a priority assigned, and then also allow an override to take anything the IT manager wanted straight to the top of the queue. She also wanted to use it to a degree to help determine and allocate costs, based on estimated and actual time for the project and an editable number for each employee, based on total labor cost including benefits, again under her control. This would make it easier for managers to see what a requested project would cost their budget, and be able to cancel or modify it if desired on that basis.
The thing listed all the employees, and their type or department. Permissions were based on that. Anyone could add notes for a project, which was a great way to advise on status or keep other IT people who might have to pick up on it up on what had happened to date.
The strange thing at that meeting, which was not the first time we had discussed things but was where we agreed to go, was how they wanted to pay us.
To sneak the project into the budget as not a capital project for either budget or IRS purposes, they wanted to treat it as if they were paying consultants. Didn't matter either way to us, since we were billing by the hour anyway. They wanted us to bill weekly, but I ended up billing monthly because it was more convenient and what I was used to doing.
Finally, our standard terms were net 15. Their standard terms were net 60 and that wasn't easily circumvented. They agreed to net 45.
We started out with nothing in writing, just a basic proposal outlining what would be involved. That proposal was, of course, too vague, entirely apart from not putting key things in writing and legally signed.
Off we went. My partner did most of the work. Art was theoretically doing the user interface in conjunction with my partner doing the hardcore coding behind it. I did a lot of testing, sanity checks, and consultations on the design. We hired Bob, at the customer's request, to help work out the code for queuing. I was the only one of us the whole time who truly grasped what the queuing was trying to do and what needed to go into it. Probably I should have written that part, scary or not. I explained it to both my partner and Bob repeatedly over the course of the project, and each time they thought they had it. Mostly my job was managing things and keeping an eye on progress and whether the features were what they ought to be.
To make a long story short, Bob's code wasn't precisely what we needed, and was so out of context, being written separately, that we ought have not farmed it out. Worse, it was better and closer to what was needed than my partner thought it was, so his horror when he saw it was overblown.
Art used his time over here, when the company actually let him get away, which was about half what they were supposed to allocate, as much as a break from the stress of his job as to do any work. When he was working with my partner, he was as much distraction as help, and apparently the part Art did was largely redone by my partner. Nor was he useful as an agent of the customer to ensure they knew how things stood and were happy with it.
My partner was too much the co-boss to allow much real supervision, and I was increasingly hands off as a result of that and his moodiness. In fact, what I accomplished that was particularly useful was frequently keeping Art away from my partner so he could work more concertedly. I humored Art's inclination to show up here to work on the project, but to use the time relaxing and gabbing incessantly. He'd talk with me for a couple hours and then it would be time to leave, which Art would do feeling that he'd successfully dodged the pressure cooker of his job for a couple hours.
They were very concerned with the total cost being under $20,000. That was always a stretch. However, my partner signed up for a full time job elsewhere and "finished" the project to a point where the basic functionality could be deployed. Internally they could add reports and tweak some of the other details. He spent most of a few days over at their offices to actually make sure it worked with their database and Art was well established toward deploying it.
The program rocked! I still think it could be bootstrapped easily into something people would buy, or be used as a template for a customized version for every customer.
About a month went by...
Then the customer came back at me full force. It didn't work. Where were the reports. It couldn't be deployed. Wouldn't really even run. We'd given them garbage. This was spearheaded by Art, who in fact had made extensive modifications to the code and broken it! The only honest point they had was we'd not created reports. This should have been a relatively easy thing for one of their IT staff to do without paying us big money, so in having them do it, we were keeping them below the total they'd shot for. It ended up coming to just over $19,000, most of which we hadn't received yet when the first "delivery" was made.
Oh, when they came back at us with the broken code, I gave them a 10% discount on all previous and future work, and adjusted accordingly. The grand total reflects what it all came to after that discount. That was fun. They blamed my partner for fleeing. Which meant I, not too happy anyway because we'd almost gone out of business as a result of his departure, blamed my partner. Even with the fact they broke it, because a less hurried completion and internal beta deployment would have allowed my partner to ensure it was bulletproof. I took his word that it was, which may or may not have been true.
Since my partner was employed elsewhere, Tim and I started debugging. I assigned the reports to the partner who had moved to New York and needed the work.
It turned out that Tim and I made a great team, debugging and fixing code, discovering that it had been changed. When my other partner saw it he recognized that immediately as well.
The problem was we would spend all day fixing sections of code and making swaths of it work (again) as intended. Then my partner would show up after his job, decide what he had originally written in those swaths of code was crap, delete it, and rewrite whole segments from scratch to be better.
We were not amused.
It was basically making all the work we'd done pointless, and it was taking a job of repairing and turning it into partial rewriting.
In the meantime, out in New York, the reports were bogged down by the customer who demanded the reports not being able to tell us what they wanted! Eventually that got worked out enough to have a handful of important reports created and able to be incorporated. The thing is, the NY partner put in for easily twice the time I was certain it should have taken. I couldn't imagine it taking that long no matter who'd done it.
I was not amused.
I added in the reports. We got everything done. It still had to be deployed, but Art really was capable of doing that. We had a nice, working program, with the queuing working as it should have and everything, done by their deadline, and a bill handed in. For another $21,000 on top of the $19,000 that "completing" it had come to originally.
They now owed us something like $30,000.
They were as much as 120 days. So much for 45.
You know where this is going, don't you?
In the early part of the last century, this company arose that made and sold eyeglass frames wholesale.
The company gradually grew. It ended up being owned by four guys, each in a key executive position. The COO was the boss of the IT manager we dealt with, and was one of them. The project wasn't completely surreptitious, as it had required his approval. Eventually they decided that they too could overextend and be sexier than they were, in the nineties, like an internet bubble company. They bought a line of designer frames for far more than it was worth, and expanded in a way one might not, casting an iota of critical thought on just how much demand that industry might represent, have considered wise or healthy. They were most impressed with themselves.
Even as they hired us, they were in trouble. The signs were there. Pay in 60 days. Actually take longer. Manipulate what is recorded as current or capital expenditure. Have staff that is too busy to function well because you can't afford to hire. Have managers being sneaky about how they get things into the dangerously creaking budget. Have key people fleeing like rats from a ship they know is going to sink.
The IT manager succeeded in shaking the tree and getting me all but that last $21,000 before she unceremonious fled. Somewhere along the line, the COO either got canned, fled, or got removed from that job and kicked into submission.
After the IT manager left, Art was largely on his own, with less direction. This was good in that he could find more time to work on deploying the project. After the final final delivery, he started pestering me with crazy deployment problems. He seemed to have forgotten everything he knew about basic troubleshooting, or else it was easier to ask, and blame, someone else. I found solutions on the web. He pleaded inability to make them work. I did a little testing and tried to help, but we were no longer billing them, and I was sure they were about to default so I wasn't as enthusiastic about helping as I might have been.
Then he got laid off. We knew that was coming, because we knew the company was imploding then.
That left me with nobody there who'd actually been involved, nothing signed, and just a name of someone in accounting to pester. After a lack of responses, I sent return receipt and signature mail.
That got me a chat with the CFO. A new CFO, mind you, there to try to pick up the pieces. He flat out refused to pay, claimed the program didn't work, had never worked, was junk, couldn't be used. Threatened to go after us to recoup the money they'd paid if we pushed the issue. I'm told that's just bluster.
Knowing they were bordering on bankrupt and we had nothing in writing, and nothing to file a UCC against, I let it go. It hurt. We never really recovered from that. It cost more in labor for that project than we received. My partner's confidence was hit by it, like a repudiation of his work. It left two of us mad at him for what he'd done both calling things a wrap prematurely and fleeing, and then for ruining our great work by needlessly ripping out and rewriting sections of debugged, working code. It left my partner thinking Bob was incompetent. It left me mad at the NY partner for what I was certain was milking the hours to be what he wanted to make, rather than what it actually took. It left us all mad at our former colleague, Art, who was more of a politician and manipulator than demonstrably a good programmer and tech person at that job.
Within a few months, the company was bankrupt. It operated for a while that way, then closed, leaving an empty building for a couple of years.
Can you see there are some lessons here? The title refers to both companies in general, as well as the project between them.
I may not have all the points I want to make from this here yet. It's raw as I first post it, and will be subject to editing between now and Monday morning. Once it seems complete, feel free to point out any lessons I might have missed listing, or worse, noticing.
Except eliminating a word I'd typed twice, I have made no changes, but do have more observations and followups to mention.
When code has been written, tested, debugged, fixed if there was a problem and it now works as the customer expects, it is done. Don't arbitrarily change it. Don't tear it down and start again because now you see a slightly better method of accomplishing the same thing. Save it as a lesson for similar software in the future, or an upgrade of this one in the future. Writing it again without good cause and charging for it is as much fluffing the bill as it would be to charge twice the time you actually put in.
I long since got over the stiffing. It still hurts, and still affects us, but it's only money. I can look at is as a valuable experience. I can figure that if you take out excess hours for reports and rewriting code arbitrarily, perhaps the amount ought have been more like $12,000 than $21,000. I can figure that sitting on a couple drives and CDs around here is code for a program that we own free and clear by dint of the company repudiating it, the company not paying for all of it, and the company long since having ceased to exist. It may have value if we wanted to try to pursue it. I have sometimes wished I had such a program just for internal use. Go figure.
The eyeglass frame company is representative of a problem I believe exists in many businesses. The urge to growth. When you are in a mature business or industry, doing well, steady profits, but it's just so damn boring, it's possible to grow yourself into trouble and take a good business down. So take that to be my major "oops, too late" bit of advice for the company that hired us and then went under, and any companies like it.
Sometimes you just have to be what you are. If you do look for opportunities when you're at mature stability, be careful. In geological terms, it might be like an ancient, meandering, venerated river hoping for an uplift event to turn it into a canyon-carving, rapids-laden torrent so it can be special. It may simply not be in the cards. Or the plates.
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Don't Forget CotC Entries!
Just a last minute reminder that Chris Noble would like your Carnival of the Capitalists entries by 6:00 PM eastern, around 90 minutes from now.
E-mail to capitalists -at- elhide.com or cotc -at- cbnoble.com to get them in.
Sometime tonight I will change the capitalists address to go to Robert Prather, next week's host. I'm sure he'll be happy to take your entries if you don't get them to Chris in time.
Meanwhile, I am trying to finish a half-done post of my own, suitable for entry. Just interrupting to put this announcement up.
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Mmmm... Caffeine, The Drug of Champions
James at Parkway Rest Stop has the funniest post about coffee! But wait, there's comments rendering it even better.
It's an ode to black coffee, and the image it paints of the coffee alchemists may just make you question your proclivities if you are one of those coffee counter huddled, reaching, shaking masses.
I forgot to mention in my comments there that I love chocolate covered espresso beans. Sort of like consuming and detonating caffeine suitcase nukes.
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Monkey Funky Bo Bunky
Jen is not the only one with a blog naming and identity crisis!
Lee Ann is having similar concerns, expressed more from a marketing perspective and in a hysterically funny way that makes it well worth a read.
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This is a totally cool site that Dax pointed out in a post on tipping that neatly supplements mine. It gives some pointers you might not think of for the restaurant aspect of tipping, like basing on the full price even if you had a coupon.
I vary on tipping delivery guys, and have never been clear on what's proper. Someone's advice once was "eh, a couple bucks." I have never as far as I can recall tipped less than $2 for a food delivery. My percentage does tend to go a little lower for a larger dollar amount, but I have tipped $5 for Chinese delivery from around the corner. (Perhaps .3 miles away, if that.) That would be on an order of $35 down to as little as $25 or less. When I say $5, or $4, or whatever, that means the food is some amount and change. The cash handed the driver for the food is the food amount rounded to the next dollar, and a tip, which may or may not be affected if the odd change portion is most of a buck itself.
When I order from my favorite place near work, if I have them deliver I am generally spending $8-15, rounded up, on food, and tipping $2-3. When we had a big thing at the office and ordered $50 of food, the driver got $10. Plus the drivers from that place tend to hang out, talk, and ask me computer questions. I think they all get computer-related jobs when they leave the delivery job!
I'm not sure how people normally tip, but I have seen people's eyes bug out when they saw what I gave them for delivering food, and gotten effusive thanks. I have tipped more when it rained, or kicked myself for having not realized it was pouring so I would have given more.
Sadly, I have eaten a lot of PBJ the past few days. No takeout for me! I keep peanut butter and jelly in the office, so if I remember to buy bread, I'm all set. There's often other food, like soup or the Hormel microwave things that don't need freezing. I buy a case of microwave popcorn at a time. Just ran out of that last week. It's almost like home! But I digress.
Go read Dax if you haven't already. I don't remember the last time I tipped under 15% on a restaurant meal, so he'd appreciate me. I never fault the waiter for bad food either. And the opposite, if they go out of their way to rectify it, not that I normally ever have problems or am fussy like some people.
What irritates me is when I am with a group and I put in the money for my food plus a generous tip, on the order of 20-25%. When everyone's money is in, we tally it up and it works out to under-tipping overall! Luckily whoever underestimated usually knows they did, and they throw in another buck until it's adequate.
I find this doesn't happen if we go with a really large group, sitting, eating and drinking for the whole evening, people coming and going. When we went out after work like that, the tips were always huge. Especially if we were friendly with the waitress, usually in Applebee's. Maybe it's drinking that makes people's counting fuzzy in a good way.
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Jen is considering whether to go to a new name, other than "Jen Speaks," and if so, what name to use. "Hey you!" perhaps? Or "Favorite Aunt Blog"? "InstaJen"?
Anyway, go here and help her out. She's trying to get a feel for the wishes of the unruly, ruffian mob of use who read her blog, or just happen to be passing by at the right time to be heard.
Good thing she's not picking a kid's name!
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The Music Used To Make Me Smile
Since I needed to chill, and The Doors were done playing, I put on Enya's A Day Without Rain album. Excellent stuff! Definitely mellow, however, enough that there are times it's not a good choice.
A couple years back, I finally found out that the song that had tantalized me for years, that I loved and knew neither name or artist for, was her and was Orinoco Flow. I had heard all or part of it on the radio or being played wherever, but nobody had ever announced the name that I caught.
I figured out it was Enya because I saw her on a show singing Only Time, and knew the sound was her. Then I went into a music store and asked, butchering the name I thought the song might be. The clerk amusedly corrected me and led me to the bin, recommending the greatest hits, Paint The Sky With Stars, as the place to get Orinoco Flow plus other good stuff. That's the CD I'll put in next. I am still shaking from writing the update to the tipping post.
Enya is very talented, in my humble opinion.
So is Billy Currington, based on Gennie's commentary and the one song I have heard so far. He has a very distinctive, excellent voice. The song I heard, "Walk A Little Straighter," is a little more country-sounding than is my normal taste, but excellent and poignant. You should really see what Gennie says, because he is local to her and she has met him and his mother. Great story! My brother will love his music, so I can't wait to tell him about it, or maybe get him the CD for Christmas. If I have any money for getting anyone anything. Argh.
But wait, there's more! It's a musical post in three parts, harmonious or otherwise.
You may have noticed people mentioned iTunes a lot since it was released for Windows. You may seen people praising it as an amazing tool for creating a collection of MP3 files from your CD media. Even if that is all you use it for, never mind the store or interacting with an overpriced iPod. (Speaking of which, an attorney and her husband, a broker, just got iPods and couldn't figure out how to get them setup. They had all kinds of trouble and found the most difficult. She asked how much for me to set them up. I suggested she might be better to try calling Apple. But it would be interesting to play with one.)
I downloaded and installed it today. Ran it, found that just as in my other experiences with Apple, it is easy, however anything but intuitive and obvious for just getting started without poking around and having good notions of how such a program ought to function.
I haven't actually listened to the MP3 files I have produced so far. That's been a bunch of Chicago songs from a 2-CD greatest hits, and everything on Legend of a Band by The Moody Blues, also a greatest hits. Which means I miss some of the great stuff on Days of Future Passed and other albums, which I have on vinyl.
Speaking of which, I know it's possible to turn vinyl into MP3. Besides a decent, working turntable, obviously, what else do I need for doing this? Bear in mind I am not enough of an audiophile to mind modest sound quality. Which is also why I am not worried about giving a sound check to what I have gotten off CDs with iTunes yet. Anyone have experience with vinyl to MP3? Even if I can just turn some of my favorites among a box of 200-some singles into MP3, that would be great. And the entire Buggles Age of Plastic album.
Anyway, iTunes, right. Seems like a really nice program. Perhaps even insanely great. It's efficient. It's easy to select multiple songs from an album to act on, and you tell it to make them MP3, it does, no fuss, you go do something else while waiting. I can put in CD after CD and let 'er rip! No more messing with an entire CD that has five songs I like. Or one!
Enya is almost done. Do I want to listen to one of her CDs again, or switch? Hmmm... I feel strangely like Simon & Garfunkel, but they aren't with me. Perhaps the soundtrack to Phantom Menace, which is an amazing piece of work. Or The Raspberries Collector's Series (greatest hits CD). Most of that is fairly mellow, and it's all good songs, even though only a couple got really memorable airplay back when. I can remember when I heard Go All The Way for the first time, and realized what they were talking about. It struck me as surprisingly risqué.
Oh well. Off to make more MP3 files! Wheeee! (I am almost chilled now, which is, no pun intended, cool.)
I am psyched! As I type this, it appears I am successfully porting to MP3 the songs on Camino Palmero, by The Calling, which I griped a while back about being unplayable in a computer CD drive. It launches a special bonus video in compensation for that.
It still tried to do so, but before the video application from the music CD even launched, iTunes had already identified the CD and downloaded the song info. I forgot to mention this, but that aspect is blazingly fast!
I only bought the CD for one song; Wherever You Will Go. The rest of the CD seems to be listenable, doesn't drive me to skip songs or turn it off, but unremarkable.
This is great! I will be able to listen to the whole thing on the computer, or listen to just the song I like in a mix with other songs. Woohoo!
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Sat Oct 25, 2003
EULA Beast Escapes Cage, Mauls All Buyers
Maybe I'm wrong, but this seems utterly absurd to me.
Quick, somebody get a tranquilizer gun and lock that thing back up!
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Hello Em Brasil!
Eu observei que eu tenho um leitor regular de Brasil. Boa vinda! Contente de tê-lo aqui. Eu espero que você aprecíe meu local.
Eu não sei realmente o português. Google está traduzindo este para mim. Eu espero que faça um trabalho bom que traduz meu blog para você.
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In The Event Of An Emergency...
Add to the list of emergency backup blogging sites a new one for The Accidental Jedi. Introducing... InstaJedi!
Why not keep the instatrend going and start an emergency blog of your own? We could have InstaBiz, InstaCookies, InstaPaul, InstaCleavage, InstaReflux, InstaWiz, InstaMonkey, InstaMom, InstaJailbait... you name it! It's just a visit to Blogger away.
Seriously, in the frontier of blogging, if your hosting engines fail and there's about to be a core breach, an emergency lifepod can keep you safe and sane.
"My blog went down on me" is not a sentence that should include the word "blog." But sometimes it does, so shouldn't you be prepared?
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But Your Honor, She Didn't Look A Day Under 18
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Tipping is a hot issue with me. I used to deliver newspapers. Tips made the difference between it being worth doing, or not.
What I didn't understand about not tipping was the newpapers price was already discounted by the paper, then the delivery was saving a trip to the store. Getting it delivered was worth something. My expectation was 25¢ for delivery of the Sunday Globe, and at least 25¢ for delivery of the other six days, or five for the few people who chose not to get Saturday.
The reality ranged from people who never paid the bill from the time I started delivering to the time I cancelled for non-payment, costing me a lot of money (and boy did it piss me off when a couple months later I'd get the order to start a new subscription for them, which I wouldn't), to people who would tip a couple bucks or more a week, or at least 50¢ a week and then $20-50 at Christmas too. Christmas money is great, but routes can change hands during the year so better to tip regularly.
The thing is, that was a lesson in pricing, marketing, value perception, or whatever you want to call it. I can rail all I want about non-tippers, but many of them are people who wouldn't buy the paper at all otherwise. Tipping would be, literally, the tipping point putting it beyond acceptable value to them. The only problem was, too many people who didn't tip also insisted that I get out of the car and carry the paper to the door for that nickel I was making to deliver it, or insisted it just had to be there by 5:00 AM because that was when they left for work. I had to attempt to tell myself that the nickel of marginal revenue when I was driving by anyway was better than nothing. There was also no connection between who could "afford" to tip well and who did. None.
There is an old lawyer in my building, on the first floor, who was a never-tipping customer. One of the secretaries who worked for my client and once worked for him was amused that the non-tipping was the first thing I said about him, and promptly told him that. He lived in a mansion-like house, down a long driveway, with a paper tube partway down and a driveway that was never cleared promptly when it snowed. I made such heroic efforts to deliver in the snow! Got stuck badly a couple times, worse than I ever did for anyone else. No tips. No Christmas. And when I worked as a census enumerator in 1980, before I ever did papers, he was one of the handful of people who absolutely refused to provide any information. It took extended cajoling to get the minimum info (which is all the census ought to ask anyway) out of him.
Anyway, when I go to a restaurant, I consider 15% a modest tip. In fact, the article I linked is rather funny. It makes 15% sound like the maximum in the U.S., when it's drifted up so more like 18% or so is pretty normal. Typically from me you will get anywhere from 15% to 25% depending on service, poverty level on my part at the time, and rounding. I generally am shooting for 20%.
Anyway, I didn't mean to get into writing a long post just now! It really brought back memories with uncontrollable vehemence.
Oh yeah, on the topic of people not paying at all, what is up with cops? I had one cop who was a great customer. The other two cops never paid a cent. So what is it about cops that makes 2/3 of them deadbeats? Heh.
I'd like to clarify and apologize for my poor choice of words in that last paragraph. I did not mean it to sound like I was maligning cops in general, which it does if you don't get inside my head and read it as the wry, knowing overstatement that it was. A sample of three living in one town does not a generalization make!
That said, what I was making delivering papers, basically self-employed, at the end of college, was fairly slim and precious, and for someone to take delivery of several weeks and stiff me hurt more than you could know. Both monetarily and as a blow against my good nature that let people take that long, even though the all but 60¢ of what they paid for the paper each week was coming out of my pocket, in advance, no delays, no excuses.
I can't help thinking of the old "pay the faces first" rule.
During the course of a few years, several people did this. Two I happened to know were police. Out of a total of three customers during that time whom I knew to be police, the other of whom was absolutely wondeful.
As far as I was concerned, each person who stiffed me had stolen from me. Well, that actually is what they had done. Cops should be well paid, but if you can't afford to pay for a newspaper subscription, or don't intend to, you could simply not order it. We are not talking a lack of tips here. The majority of customers didn't tip or tossed five bucks at Christmas. Some of them I knew couldn't afford it and I was cool with that. For instance, the retired librarian from my youth. We always loved her! She was awesome. And her husband, the retired fire chief.
What we are talking is not paying for the product that's being delivered and taking money out of the pocket of someone far less able to afford it than you are.
Was it fair to sound like I was picking on cops? No. Did I find it curious two of the several people who stiffed me were cops? Yes.
But every person who did it, cop or not, was a total asshole in my eyes, enough so that I still remember who some of them were and hold a grudge of sorts approximately 16 years later. I remember the guy on Thompson Street, the guy on Oak Street, the guy on River Street, and the guy on Cherry Street, just offhand. Hmmm... they were all guys! Maybe I could imply that all guys are deadbeats as a wry overstatement, and irritate more people.
That's enough on that. I don't normally make a point of thinking about this, but now my blood is boiling, not at the whole cop misunderstanding, but at all those people who stiffed me. I need to chill.
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Managerial Introspection and Introversion
This is a great post, made even better by the comments, that really starts out being about why Dell's management is so good, but ends up being thought-provoking about introverts, extroverts, blinders and foibles that make one a poorer managers, and overcoming those things.
I am generally quite introverted, the way Rob describes himself. I can appear anything but, in the right company, at the right comfort level, or if something comes up about with I am sufficiently passionate and knowledgeable. Then people say "you're not shy!" and completely miss the boat.
To me it is obvious you have to hire people who aren't like you for roles where your traits wouldn't work so well. An extreme introvert for cold calling, knocking on doors? Hardly. Not one who hasn't trained himself to overcome that and be a good salesperson anyway.
On another note, I really really do intend to write a post worthy of CotC entry before it's too late. I know the title! "No Way To Run Things" makes it sound intriguing, eh? Stay tuned. I am delayed and bogged down and way too decaffeinated at the moment.
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Hey, Where Did Jay Solo Go
Sorry about the lack of posts!
Between being busy earlier, then my blog being down off and on, and having a wonderful AIM chat with someone compellingly cool, I shirked my blogging "duties." Heh. Is that just tough or what? Unless I seriously wake up on the drive home, no goodies for you this fine early AM.
I do have a post I want to write in time for submission to Chris Noble for Carnival of the Capitalists. Maybe tomorrow sometime while machine installs are on autopilot.
Also, if I don't cop out again, I will actually get a Powerball ticket so I will win $99 million and can pay myself to blog full time. Wouldn't that be great?
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Fri Oct 24, 2003
I hate hate hate when the blog hosting goes down!!
I fricking moved off of BlogSplat for that reason!!!!
Now that is the height of reliability compared to where I am.
Anyway, there are a few outage posts over at Instajay, http://instajay.blogspot.com, my backup site for when things fry at Hosting Matters. I may move them over here too, but in case I don't...
Also, if you can't hit this site, you can always check there in the future.
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Here Comes The Sun
One of the lawyers here pointed this article out to me. I hadn't heard about the solar storm coming before this.
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Be In Your Write Mind
Bill writes about a writer writing about a writer writing about writing, but you'll find it write interesting. I sure did! I recognized some of those mistakes to an unfortunate degree.
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An Offering For The Ladies
And I don't mean me. Only.
Dean is asking what men do that pisses you off. Go have your say!
There are already a bunch of interesting comments, so guys may want to check it out to and start reading what the gals have to say. They are being impressively sweet for the most part.
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The Kissing Booth
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Curving On A Grade
Serona* points out and comments on another piece of brilliance by Arnold Kling, this time on nonlinear thinking.
He's really getting into pet peeves and theories of mine in the article. Many people can't grasp curvaceous or, not addressed here, discontinuous change. Discontinuities are more likely to be impossible to predict, and include sudden, unexpected inventions, natural disasters, that sort of thing. If a guy tinkering in his garage discovers antigrav technology tomorrow and it can be rapidly emplyed, voila, discontinuous change. If JPL discovers viable FTL drive technology next year, same thing; we are outta here! If the
Jellystone Yellowstone caldera blows and takes out all life in a 1000 kilometer radius, invokes nuclear winter-like conditions, and generally blows civilization all to hell, answering conclusively "but why put people in space, why go to Mars" etc. in a flash for the maroons, that's a discontinuity. Stuff happens.
Nonlinear refers to things that progress in a line that is not straight, but may be predictable or closely enough anticipated to be useful. It is more typical of the way technologies flow and problems are made moot over time.
To me, the brain teaser is obvious. See if you get it.
Coincidentally, he discusses as a cool example something that I have been thinking about lately, because I believe life extension is going to become significant in the next 10-30 years. In one paragraph he writes:
It seems reasonable to assume that, as with all new technologies, the best anti-aging techniques will go through a period during which they are unproven and expensive. What this means is that there could be a relatively short window -- five to ten years -- such that people who die before the start of that window just miss out on immortality, people who naturally live just after the end of the window will all be immortal, and the fate of people who would naturally die during the window will depend on luck. During this "window," longevity will go from, say, 85, to infinity. That is nonlinear!
That "window" is something I have been thinking about. The last time I saw my father, for the first time he actually looked old to me. I was thinking how sad it would be if he dies in 15 years, and in 20 years people alive and healthy then start having the option to live longer.
But this is also a whole other topic; long life spans, would you want them or not, the implications of them, and so forth.
Go read Arnold Kling's article. It's great, though provoking, optimistic stuff!
* This name made "My Sharona" start going through my head over and over! Back in the day, we used to refer to a sudden desire to listen to The Knack as a "Knack Attack," a takeoff on McDonald's "Big Mac Attack" ad campaign.
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Tastes Great, Closes Early
Here's a helpful hint for fast food chains that like you to believe that you can eat great late.
Being open until midnight is not being open until 11:55. It is being open until 12:00.
It is not everyone rushes out the door to leave their shifts at 12:00. It is that they stop serving at 12:00.
And don't be like the convenience stores I worked at that closed at 12:00 and stopped paying you at 12:00, but had enough traffic so you couldn't get all the expected things like mopping the floor done until after the doors were locked.
That is all.
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Thu Oct 23, 2003
Girls Are Purty
I really enjoyed reading Sam's post on why women are more appealing than men. I don't think we are that repulsive, but a lot of what she says is well put in terms of how fascinatingly nice women can be to look at and touch.
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Submission Can Be Right For You
It seems it's about the right time for a reminder to submit entries for the next Carnival of the Capitalists.
There's always a rush of last minute entries, but Chris reports that so far we are several behind last week. Thus it may be worth reminding people that we will at least consider submissions that are not by the author. If you read a good recent post, you can suggest it.
Entries can be on business topics: strategy, management, company and business news discussions, product marketing discussions, trade issues, advertising, stocks and other trading and investments, business education, accounting and financial control issues, regulatory and tax issues in business, HR, recruiting and employment issues, anything connected to businesses, the running of them, the operating environment of them, critique or praise of them, etc. There is a descriptive list on the CotC info page. It isn't necessarily complete, but it's extensive.
Entries can be on capitalism as a theory, philosophy, abstraction, way of life, or target for criticism.
Entries can be on economics, especially as affects business, trade, employment, and perhaps the fate of entire nations or regions.
Entries can be short or long, but should consist of substantive original commentary or other writing, not simply links with little or no "thought" attached.
Please try to keep them significantly on topic. An entry that is all about the denizens of Whoville and as almost a throwaway mentions "they also thrive on capitalism, especially at Christmas time" is not a post substantively on topic. An entry that focuses more on how the commercialization of Christmas has skewed the economy and increased seasonal, part time employment so much labor is in short supply then in Whoville would be topical.
You know you want to...
capitalists -at- elhide.com or cotc -at- cbnoble.com
Keep those entries coming!
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Musically Induced Insanity
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Well, Today Has Been Interesting
What a day! I still haven't left to go get computer parts. If I leave now, I will end up being stuck in rush hour traffic, so I think it can wait until tomorrow after all.
I see they saved the Powerball jackpot for me and increased it some more. Maybe before the next drawing I will actually buy some tickets. I could have fun with that kind of money.
One of my partners resigned from the business. I still haven't absorbed it entirely yet, and there's a lot of loose ends to tie up, not least is he's the primary programming person and there's an unfinished project to pick up and complete.
When I came in, I found a set of six keys and a CD labeled "source" on a desk in the hall in our office. No sign of what was going on. Turned out he had sent mail to the Partners mailing list, which was down at the time.
Yeah, six keys. The building, the client's offices, our outer door, and three inner doors. I have the same six, plus a new one, to some of the doors to offices at the client that have recently installed locks.
If I ever discuss the partner and circumstances at any length, it will be down the road through the light of more time and the dust having cleared. Now is not the time. He works the same place as the partner who took the offer to relocate to Colorado. Since he is leaving us, I hope he took up the Colorado offer after all. It would be good for him.
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It occurs to me that because I just got Instalanched, I will probably reach 40,000 hits today. Woohoo! Barring any denial of service attacks, that is.
I must have "arrived." Granted, the first one was for this week's CotC, which I just happened to be hosting, but two instalinks in the same week? As Neo would say, "whoa!"
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Blogs Around the World
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Upselling Made Uneasy
This October 21st article is quite an intriguing look at Office 2003. I will not install something that behaves that way.
As Starhawk points out, there isn't really a compelling reason to upgrade from Office 97, which I tend to think of as Microsoft's magnum opus over which their sales of Office have tripped ever since. Even if you got to Office 2000, again, no reason to upgrade beyond that.
As long as the weight of users is on earlier releases, the pressure will not be for those users to upgrade to match new formats, but the other way around. How many earlier Office users will refuse to accept files in the new format and insist they be saved out compatibly? Microsoft would have to sell the package cheaply in order to get critical ubiquity required to make things flow the other way and, in so doing, make the DRM aspects widespread enough to really matter. Their old strategy was to become dominant in usage and in so doing increase sales. Their more recent strategy has been to milk the position by charging big money. But they are competing against themselves when they try that.
If they are serious about the form of DRM in Office 2003 becoming ubiquitous, they need to use the strategies that made Word 6 and then 97 ubiquitous. That's oxymoronic, because part of how that was accomplished was to overlook a certain amount of piracy, and that's inverted from what they'd like to do now.
Microsoft is facing its own 55 MPH speed limit and CB radio. People will not comply readily with the "requirement" to upgrade.
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Wed Oct 22, 2003
Strategists Versus Capitalists
I discovered an interesting commentary last night on Carnival of the Capitalists, at bubblegeneration. He is proposing a "Carnival of the Strategists" because the CotC hasn't, in two whole editions so far, focused and gotten enough entries on "business (micro) economics and strategy." That is, harder core, business-oriented stuff as opposed to more political and macro-related economics, and softer business issues. My strength in college was Strategic Management; what a CEO is heavily involved in. I'd tend to eat up anything along those lines.
So on some level, I agree. But it's too niche to have a collection that is so focused. Rob and I could have introduced CotC as a strictly business thing. That is it's roots. However, we wanted a wider audience and number of submissions. From week to week, of course it will vary. Macroeconomics affects business too. The political and regulatory environment affects business. The perception and status of capitalism around the world affects business and trade.
As Beth said when we announced it, it affects everybody.
I would love to see more entries on management strategies, and on things like "the RIAA's new deterrence tactic." I expect we will get more as time goes by. We haven't seen as much participation by the business bloggers as we thought we might, but some of them are enough out of "mainstream" blogging that it may take time to get their attention.
Much as I would love more hardcore posts, I also enjoy topics like "the political economy of Tajikistan."
There are no comments, so I e-mailed my thoughts, which he specifically solicited from readers. I've had no reply as yet, but I'm curious to see if there's an interest from his other readers. I suggested he might encourage their participation so we improve the balance of content in that direction.
I just used a description in e-mail to Rob that sums up why it's as widely focused as it is, which is to say, capitalism rather than simply "business" or "management." I said, in a context of discussion of having used Capitalism in the name, that it was about: "The whole world of capitalism from the hands-on to the theoretical, from the internal to the external forces on commerce."
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NSI's Special Brand of Evil
I have always heard horror stories about Network Solutions holding domain transfers hostage until they have been paid for another year, starting as far out as three months before a registration expires.
I'm sorry, but until the day that domain expires, it is mine, and even being a mere 22 days before expiration shouldn't hold up a transfer.
We have to investigate, but it appears NSI is possibly doing that particular trick to us, and to transfer to a year elsewhere at $8 will require payment of $35 for the year with which we will be with a new registrar. As far as we can tell so far, NSI has simply failed to acknowledge or act on a transfer request.
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Wait, Even WORSE Evil
They said the S word in the forecast!
Snow, in Massachusetts, in October, at normal elevations, in measurable accumulations in places.
That is just the height of pure evil. I am beginning to think Nicole had the right idea, moving to San Diego.
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Someone is infected again.
It is one of those Klez-like worms that spew spoofed e-mails. Currently they are going out as "from" my jaysolo address at Mindspring, which I used to use before I had the Elhide hosting and associated e-mail. Thus I am getting bounces from both addresses I recognize because they are bloggers, and addresses I don't.
Chances are some blog reader, who may or may not also be a blogger, has this and the addresses are being picked up from the temporary internet files, which would include the pages for comments, which would in many cases contain that address.
I do hope it stops soon so I don't keep getting bounces.
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And Here Too!
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Instajay and Backup Blog Topics
Laughing Wolf is suggesting that more of us create or advise him of out emergency backup blog sites for times of hostage hosting. Good idea! I am debating whether to use my old blog or a new one clearly defined for the purpose. Probably a new one.
At any rate, if you have or create a backup blog, he wll list them at his backup, Instawolf.
He further comments on backups and the denial of service attacks in this post.
Okay, I created a backup blog for myself, called Instajay, at instajay.blogspot.com naturally. I have made one initial post to it and have done no tweaking or blogroll additions yet. This is the first post I made by way of introduction, which is useful in that it contains the Hosting Matters emergency news and forum links:
Emergency Backup Blog Created
This is the emergency backup for Jay Solo's Verbosity, to be used at times when my blog is down due to host attacks or other problems. I expect I will try to replicate posts to the main blog after each outage is over, or else I will point here.
Laughing Wolf is blogrolling people's backup sites at his backup, InstaWolf. I expect I will do the same, as well as linking a selection of regular blog locations.
Since these emergency sites are primarily a reaction to problems being experienced by Hosting Matters, it is worth being aware of their remote support forum where informative status updates are posted religiously during outages. They also have a remote news page for announcements during outages.
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The Best Iality Anywhere
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Flirting With Chaos
This is a superb, fascinating post that explains the concept of strange attractors, and relates that to the failure to find the box cutters hidden on two jets in a timely manner. I especially like the "I've looked everywhere" example.
Thanks to Deb for pointing it out.
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Secret of Success
Ith has discovered a new secret to being massively linked and commented: Poultry blogging!
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Or I Could Get Struck By Lightning...
Speaking of cash, Powerball is getting up there. $162 million for the Wednesday night drawing. Not sure I'll be able to get to Rhode Island for a couple tickets tomorrow, but darn it's tempting. Talk about capital!
I'd put a chunk of it into the business, stop relying on pure bootstrapping, and turn it in the direction I really want it to go.
Yes, if I won $84 million (the cash lump sum payout), I am a sicko who would attempt to use it to make more money in hands-on fashion.
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Cold Hard Cache
Just a thought. We knew when naming Carnival of the Capitalists that there could be objections to or confusion of the name, being so similar to the original that inspired it. There have allegedly been other "Carnivals," something of which I was completely unaware.
Thus we knew it might need to be renamed if something better came along or if needed.
Do you think it is too confusing or poorly named?
At any rate, I had an amusing name finally come to mind tonight which, who knows, might have been what Rob and I named it had I thought of it sooner. What do you think; to punny? I give you:
Cache of the Capitalists
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Colorado Dreamin' On Such An Autumn Day
One of my business partners will be moving to Colorado, about halfway between Denver and Boulder.
I suggested I should virtually introduce him to some of the cool bloggers in Colorado, which he thought was a great idea. If I don't necessarily know you're from Colorado, feel free to point yourself out to me.
I'm sad, because he is one of the coolest people I have ever met. I'm not sure what his status with the business will be after he moves. However, it won't be like when a former partner moved to upstate New York and talked us into having him be "an office" there. That's a whole other story. Currently there are four of us, and I am the only one employed exclusively in the business. My Colorado-bound partner makes in a year about what I do in three, and arranged an excellent contract in exchange for relocating when the company consolidates operations. Three year contract, with six months severance if they ditch him before then. I assume or a minimum of his current salary. It's unfortunate his wife spends it as fast as he makes it.
I geek circles around many people, but he's the one I call in for help when I am lost. He's the primary architect and developer for the software side of the company's new product, as well as working on other projects. He geeks circles around most geeks.
Anyway, figured I'd point out that he's coming that way about the end of December or so, and is one of the nicest, most generous, most interesting and engaging people I have ever known. If you live in that area, you could do worse than to meet him.
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Carnival Amish Barn Raising of the Vanities
Carnival of the Vanities is up!
Looks good, if low in number of links compared to some weeks. So let us remind you right now that next week's CotV is at Who Censored Blogger Rabbit? and this post has instructions for submitting your entries.
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Tue Oct 21, 2003
A Few Hours Ago I Wrote...
Well, I am back online in my office, where I was disconnected for a while because I again tested my router on my client's service in case the router they had was bad.
They are finally online!!!
And it wasn't me preventing it!!
In the end, after all my trials and tribulations, the only thing I had done wrong was on my last pass at settings I had put the router and the internal network on the same range, which would have confused it had the internet connection been working on the ISP end.
The guy had goofed and plugged our line into the external firewall hub thing, rather than the internal one. Oops! He had also gotten a number wrong. When I finally got him here this morning and he looked at my settings and tested things for a while, he finally figured out something was bizarrely wrong on his end. Gee, ya think? I'm no networking guru, but I knew something wasn't right.
Ironically, part of what gave away the problem is the fact that when we'd plugged the WAN directly into the NIC and setup with our public IP and an apropriate gateway, it worked. The mystery is why it didn't stay working. It worked because in fact we were hooked to the outside, bypassing things. Kind of funny.
We went down to their server cabinet and got that fixed, then bingo, blazingly fast internet access. Woohoo! A quick SMTP forward setting in the router and that was that; incoming and outgoing mail worked, and the web worked.
Yet... a bunch of e-mail files were stuck in the OUT folder of the internet mail connector. I checked them and... they were all for me!
Yep, Hosting Matters is down again! I really regret moving my business account there in addition to having this account there. It means I either have both e-mail addresses working, or none.
I also am pissed off that on a day when I am on my way to getting 1500+ hits from people visiting the CotC, I got to 600-odd and then traffic just stopped. One visit in an hour.
This time it's the denial of service attack again. For somewhat technical reasons, the continuing attack against an address they aren't using any more is still affecting them, so the upstream people are in the process of juggling things for them to isolate it. For real this time since, after all, they said the upstream people were isolating it last week.
I would like to maim the dipshits who are behind the attack.
HM's fault or not, otherwise good service or not, they seem to host so many of us that they have a glaring bullseye painted on their virtual torso. If it doesn't stop for an extended time after this, I am going to have to seriously think about changing to a different host for at least one of the two domains. I suspect this will turn out to be isolated in the longer term and I'll be able to stay. Maybe stick out most of the year I paid for and switch if it's a pattern of downtime.
As I type this, I can't actually post it yet. I'll save it offline until I can.
Update as I post this: All is much better, except I still cannot send outgoing e-mail. There's an error 441 do to reverse lookup failure or something like that. Doh!
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Question of the Week: Overstating Things
Since I have one in mind, I will toss out a Question of the Week despite all the effort that went into my turn hosting CotC (here, if you missed it). This is a great question for riling up our Canadian friends, since it invariably turns in that direction.
If you could take any geographical region not currently one of the big 50; a country, province, territory... and induct it into the United States as a new state (or a few of them, if you insist), which would you want to add first? Why? What do you think the benefits would be, or would it just be for amusement value? And if you are serious, what would the drawbacks be? Can you imagine or posit a scenario in which it might come true?
Feel free to answer at your own blog if you have one and would like to ramble at length. Just let me know and I will link the posts that result. Or answer here in the comments.
Come on, it's an easy, fun, off the wall scenario. Anyone can play!
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Mon Oct 20, 2003
Agent Mapchic, your mission, should you
not drop the ball choose to accept it, is to write a couple of posts in the next week, having nothing to do with the Cubs, cheering or sobbing.
Should you be caught, the blogosphere will deny any knowledge of your demise, and no search party or coroner will be sent toy retrieve you or your last words.
The post will self-destruct in ten seconds. Oh wait, I'm not on BlogSpot any more! This post will remain here, taunting and goading you into participation as a practicing member of the blogosphere
That is all. Gentlechicks, start your blogging!
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Did you notice the latency problem the last couple hours, until maybe 20 minutes ago?
AT&T had latency issues in some of the major pipes that carry Hosting Matters as well as other traffic. Any site passing through that was affected, either loading slowly and maybe incompletely, or not at all.
This is unrelated to the recent denial of service attack on a pro-Israel site HM hosts, which resulted in all HM sites being offline for a few hours. Just unfortunate temporal proximity.
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Yellow, With A Touch Of Blue
Does the company that makes the stuff know about this? Does the company have an official answer?
I just cannot believe it has over 400 comments!!
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Amish Can't Handle Carnivals
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I got into the router! Someone obviously did something with it before I got it, because it took resetting it to factory defaults with the recessed reset button to give it the default address they told me it had.
E-mailed them to confirm the settings. Got an ambiguously helpful answer back from one of them, the other being on the road until morning. We shall see. Meanwhile, I am falling asleep. Need caffeine now! Dare I go encounter Donut Girl on such an awful day?
I'll probably settle for caffeine in the form of soda with food. It's so close to the end of the day, I may as well eat and then continue the work. I can't do much until I am free to reboot the server at will.
Aren't these fun posts? Usually I write far more entertaining stuff, rather than griping.
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I Am Not Amused
After 4 hours of sleep, I woke to the sound of the pager in the form of dreaming about an alarm going off. As I was about to fall back to sleep, the pathetic reminder "bip!" from the pager made me realize that real life had infringed on my dreams.
When I left the office last night, the client's internet connection worked, except e-mail wasn't routing in yet because of Network Solutions being brain dead.
This morning it was down. Why? All I can figure is that the ISP that insisted we had to use the cheesy router that is unnecessary with the proxy server made a change that stopped it up. Since they gave us wrong info on things like default gateway, and we did binary math to determine what the correct settings to try had to be, maybe they came in this morning and changed things on their end. Anyway, they were disturbed at the idea we didn't use the router, so I am trying to use the router.
Oh, it's easy! Just plug the LAN port of the router to the NIC of a computer, set the default gateway to 192.168.1.1 and the IP of the machine to 192.168.1.2, then you can http in, log in and set things from the defaults to where the belong.
So far it doesn't respond to either 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, and each time I reboot the tired old computer it literally take three minutes, which is how I came to be over on this other one writing this lament.
I seriously suspect the router is NFG, and if not, the default is something other than what they are telling me. It was nice of them to supply a brand new, unconfigured, cheapo router that has no documentation in the box with it.
This day totally sucks in a way that not even an Instalanche can make up for. Right now I am in the process of downloading and printing a mortgage closing for my client, who can't get online. For them using the internet is kind of like getting the Viceroy; everything depends on it.
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Carnival of the Capitalists
What is this thing? It is a roundup of posts that bloggers consider their best, or deserving of more exposure, from the week or two prior to each week's Carnival of the Capitalists (CotC), on business and economics-related topics of all kinds. If you are familiar with Carnival of the Vanities, then you'll understand it's similar, but focused on an area that perhaps gets less attention than it might. Before we get started, here are some links of possible interest, sort of like the ads and coming attractions before the feature presentation starts:
CotC Info and Host List page, where you can always find out where a future, past or current CotC is being hosted, as well as info about it and how to enter. Another source of original info on CotC is BusinessPundit's original post announcing our plans.
BusinessPundit hosted last week's CotC, if you haven't checked that out yet. Highly recommended. Last week's Carnival of the Vanities, our sibling of sorts, was at Priorities & Frivolities and is also good stuff.
The next Carnival of the Vanities will be hosted by Eric Berlin. If you are a blogger with a gaudy post to show off to the world, you still have until 6:00 PM Eastern time tomorrow, the 21st, to send your entry to eric -at- ericberlin.com. Remember that Carnival of the Vanities is for anything, whereas Carnival of the Capitalists is for business, management, economics, marketing, advertising, taxes and regulations, capitalist theory, pro and con; anything you might expect based on the name.
Finally, the October 27 edition of Carnival of the Capitalists will be hosted by The Noble Pundit. E-mail your entries to Chris at either cotc -at- cbnoble.com or capitalists -at- elhide.com through Saturday, or whenever he specifies.
I am doing something a little different this week, which we leave as an option for hosts. At the end will be a few entries that I have selected and added to the list as examples of possible submissions that were not entered by the bloggers who wrote them, but could have been. Besides doing this for your reading pleasure, I hope to provide more examples of what may be submitted, to encourage even greater participation in the future. Enjoy!
In his post titled Fixing Social Security And Medicare For Good, Steve highlights what will be required to retain a viable safety net retirement system without bankrupting any future generations or eliminating benefits, and suggests additional reading on the topic.
The Single Southern Guy Brand gives us an easy, informative lesson in marketing, branding and customer expectations, things he does on the job, using the context of weblogs and the branding they represent or acquire.
Repatriate's Career Counseling Center Opens and brings us a post from the perspective of a human resources or hiring manager. Good and amusing advice, and things those who screen and hire people can relate to readily. As a bonus, he continues the advice later.
This is in three parts, all interrelated on the full extent of taxes, spending and investments by Federal, State, and Local governmental units.
Bush, the Dollar, and Inflation considers whether current policies, spending and currency manipulation by the administration and Fed are leading us into inflation after the next election.
The IPO Myth and "Real" Entrepreneurs points out that real entrepreneurs aren't about a fast IPO and sellout for a quick buck, but about hard work and dedication at building a business and a dream.
Well, No Net Increase In Jobs During This Recovery looks at the state and future of unemployment, productivity, profitability, and factors that have kept duration of unemployment long and job growth limited.
US Employment Update examines the employment charts and the lag in employment growth versus overall improvement of the economy.
The Libertarian Anti-War Movement discusses the current state and variation of libertarian views on capitalism, property, the war, and so forth, with tendencies toward pragmatism.
Regulation is everywhere, making starting and running a business more difficult and adding costs most people are never aware of. This post is a point by point example of that, showing what is required to become a wine distributor.
I always tell people that the state of the economy is as much about people's perception as objective reality. It is in that light that Steven has More on the Dow and that Magic 10k Figure, in which the public perception of health by hitting 10k could have real economic benefit.
"Ask Auntie Pinko" - Corporate Income Taxation discusses the regressive nature of corporate income taxes, then goes on to explain why such taxes exist despite that.
Bill Shoemaker, 72, looks at at a less admirable incident in the jockey's life, in which as usual the deep pockets are hit for liability, responsible or not.
Joseph Stiglitz, Meet Sam Walton debunks the notion that innovation flows only from the public sector.
Lessons of the Great Depression summarizes readings on the Great Depression and the implications for today, especially in light of the relative timing and consequences of past and recent bubbles.
Customer Support or Wendy's promotes the importance of good customer service in business, as something that can add to the bottom line, with some examples of bad service thrown in for what not to do.
Percentiles Are Not People uses Cox and Alm's 1995 popularization of income mobility statistics to refute the maxim "the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer." Static income inequality statistics talk about percentiles, not real people. A lot of people are actually saying, "the rich percentiles are getting richer, the poor percentiles are getting poorer."
The Business of Sports - The Milwaukee Wave discusses in detail the varius elements involved in managing and marketing the team, bringing them from large losses to breaking even, and building for the future.
Smoking Bans and Private Property Rights is just what the title implies; a discussion of how smoking's negative externalities can be managed through property and the market without stepping beyond private means to government intervention.
Amazon.com Is Full of Snakes, followed up by proposed solution, exposes abusive, unavoidable terms and conditions, such as those imposed in a typical EULA, then proposes a solution.
The "Jobless Recovery" and Foreign Competion asserts that the nature of foreign competion and the view of foreign goods has changed dramatically from what it has been in the past, making matters worse for workers in developed countries by broadening the base against which they are competing for employment.
VIX Foretells Short Term Correction is a discussion of complacency and current economic stimulus factors, in conjunction with current market volatility signals.
Good Leadership Means Developing Other Leaders examines and expands on an article about the importance of leadership development in companies, getting the right people where they are needed and leading to competetive advantage that can obviate the need to outsource or hire outside management talent.
Online Gaming - An Introduction gives us a roundup and introduction to the online gaming industry, the hype, the reality, and where things may be headed.
Why Delaware Is A Corporation Magnet examines why that state is such a predominant choice by corporations across the country and, surprise, it's not because Delaware has less complex state codes.
Open Source Doomed?!? presents and builds on the assertion is that gift cultures are actually quite capitalistic, examining the current state and future of open source software and potential liability issues in light of that.
Rolling in the Dough is a review of the book Making Dough: The 12 Secret Ingredients of Krispy Kreme's Sweet Success from an admitted Krispy Kreme junkie.
Is It Really a 'Jobless Recovery'? seems to be a popular question these days, and this entry discusses it from the perspective of unaccounted self-employment, consulting, and returns to school possibly skewing the numbers.
The Root of Bolivia's Suffering is not, as many would have you believe, caused by capitalism, but instead has other sources unveiled in this informative post.
Neurocompetitive Advantage looks at mental health as a competitive, productivity advantage, and the potential advent of neuroceuticals to improve mental function toward that end.
In this section are a few - not many because I ran short on time - posts I saw on blogs here and there that could have been entered into Carnival of the Capitalists by their authors. We leave it to each week's host whether to add any additional discoveries like these.
The Wheels of Commerce is a history of capitalism, recommended and excerpted in the area of early modern monetary issues in this post.
Unintended Consequences is a brief discussion of just that, with respect to business and employment in light of the new do not call list.
Brands, Advertising, and Packaged Goods is a wry commentary on brand building and management of commoditized products.
Mother Always Said, Don't Brag is a cautionary look at how marketing puffery can get you into legal trouble, and can potentially be construed as material misstatements rather than mere boastful marketing language. (Thanks to Trademark Blog for leading me to this gem.)
Manage Me is a classic look at differing perceptions between managers and workers, how workers can react, types of managers, and how sticking to the book can actually make productivity worse.
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Sun Oct 19, 2003
Odds and Ends Before CotC Post
Most importantly, the very next post you see will be the October 20th Edition, Week 2, of Carnival of the Capitalists. Shouldn't take me more than two hours to have it posted.
I just had to watch Joan of Arcadia and eat supper first, after I got home. That show is just so good it's amazing. And Kathryn Joosten guested on it as one of the people playing God. Very cool! She is such a great actress. Everyone hated it when she was killed off on The West Wing.
We did get my client online. Abel came to help and did binary sanity checks on the IP numbers they'd told us, then tried ones that would be correct for the implied range. We also bypassed the cheesy router and plugged right into the secondary NIC on the proxy server. Later when I finally got a call from the guy at the company providing the service, around 24 hours after his pager hadn't gone off when I called for service (he checked e-mail and that's how he knew to call), he claimed that it wouldn't work properly for e-mail to come in if we didn't use the router. Abel told me they didn't know what they were doing (I agree), and in fact using the router would create hoop-jumping to do or it wouldn't work. They may be entirely mixed up on the ISP end because they are not used to dealing with people who have Exchange server. Then again, Abel has been wrong before (which is always funny because he is so out there brilliant, so us little people love catching the mistakes), and I wasn't completely convinced.
As it turned out, they provided us with a cheesy Linksys router when a week ago the plan was to charge us $1700, including setup, for a real router. I had even told the office manager about the extra cost. What happened in the meantime? No idea. But these are the same people who repeatedly forgot they would be hosting our web site, they would be making the DNS entries, and so forth, leaving me little more than changing things with the domain registrar.
Speaking of which, it's wonderful to change everything at Network Solutions on Friday evening and then on Sunday evening find that nothing frickin changed! Except the one item that was obsolete and needed to be something else, which is how we discovered the name server and administrative contacts had not happened. This means it will be longer before mail starts routing correctly.
Anyway, after the ISP guy gave me better directions on how the router had to be configured, I was caught between him saying the router was mandatory and Abel saying hell no, he has no clue. Of the two, I have way more reason to trust Abel. This is why I e-mailed him a "help me Abel-Wan, you're my only hope" message yesterday, after all.
I figured I'd mess with the router tomorrow. In the morning if the ISP guy is right, and for giggles to try it out in the evening if Abel is right.
We also put in to transfer our business domain's registration to a new registrar to save money and avoid things like NSI failing to accept changes. Funny coincidence.
In the meantime, who said it could be winter yet? Not me! My permission is most decidedly not granted! Tonight was the first time I have had to scrape car windows this season. Started with a bang too; no mere thin, friendly frost, but think ice that hates to budge for the scraper. Argh. Then my apartment was freezing! The lowest I have seen it get before tonight it 69, but it was 63 when I came home. Turned on the heat for the first time. Ugh.
Anyway, that's the odds and ends, so now I will add the few straggler entries and put the CotC together, then e-mail some people to start getting word out.
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I'll Be Back
Well, here goes. I am about to take myself offline. Until I go home, or get my client online and use their connection,* I will not be posting or getting any e-mails. I have a few more CotC entries to process when I get home. It'll probably get posted in the wee hours, assuming I get the client online and go home in the next few hours. I'm glad I already wrote up the entries received before today. I can take my time adding the rest, adding the graphics, double-checking, and tweaking the layout. Still time to send me your entries!
* I was amused when the guy we get internet service from, an overpriced 64k connection, suggested we ought to have a CAT5 line from our client in here (we do) an use their internet service (we used to) instead of paying for our own. 64k is $99 a month. 512k for my client is going to be $480 a month, versus the $472 they were paying for 256k. In making that suggestion, the guy was cutting his own revenue from a fairly tight venture by $99 a month. Anyway, I like being able to rely on our own and not have to have our computers on their network. I just wish it weren't so damn expensive. I'd get DSL if that were possible here.
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He Sounds So Certain...
Are we really sure they don't do anything like this?
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To All The Gals We've Linked Before
How about a tribute to some of the gals? That's a good excuse for linkage, right?
This one finds TV theme songs painful if too many are on the radio in a short period, especially when she's trying to get over her addiction. Go cheer her on. Oh, she also enjoys tormenting folks who have an aversion to sweet, innocent, beautiful, eminently pettable pussies. How mean! There is nothing wrong with holding strong opinions on marriage, but not everyone will get what you mean if your perspective is unusual.
This one isn't a spinster yet. I always refer to myself as a spinster, which generates amusement, or frowny corrections of my terminology. People should know if I say something like that it's intentional. Anyway, it's not too late for a matchmaking group. She loves her fans. She would really love them if they bought her a laptop. I offered a nice mousepad instead, but she uses one of those goofy trackball thingies instead of rodent power. I think her biggest fan will be sending a calculator.
This one has the right stuff, and has invented a masterful new euphemism: rewind. While some of us may answer to no one, she answers to anyone. I enjoy the daily presidential fun facts on the first ladies, but I can't help wondering... will she skip Hillary?
This one has highly developed cleavage that she delights in teasing us with. She really craves visitors, and has even started posting more in conjunction with her desires. Being particularly kinky, she wants to suck your blood, but at least she is highly responsive to requests, even if she does have expensive tastes. I recently found that she is the waif of the future. Finally, I just have to ask, was Rod Argent into chocolate?
This one is color blind. I hear that's more common in females lately. She's Aiken for good music. She loves her TV shows, but prefers not to be confused by sudden anomolies in the programming matrix. She has strong opinions on retirement. She happens to have a niece who is possibly the most adorable baby I have ever seen, even compared to my own grandnieces.
This one does cool site designs, but beware if you have allergies. And no, I won't shush. So there. Her right toes look remarkably like mine, except both smaller and more colorful. She delights in sharing creative new tofu recipes and enjoys memes. Not to be confused with "me, me!" Finally, I would say she preferred robots in disguise.
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In The Meme Time...
I just had ideas for a couple of memes I can try, which may or may not be fun or clever. I should probably wait for the dust to settle from the CotC first. This is partly to remind myself.
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CotC Update... Almost That Time
I just finished writing descriptive blurbs for each entry I have received for this Monday's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. There are 26 so far. Plenty of room for more! Send them to capitalists -at- elhide.com people. Lots of good stuff, but I think we can do better still; add more variety.
Now I just have to work on layout and tweaking the intro, as well as handling any additions I receive tomorrow. I ended up having the text of the post at the office and graphics I may use for it at home, so I sent the post home attached to e-mail and will finalize it there. It could be posted as early as tomorrow afternoon.
I'll probably send out e-mail to some people, if not as many as before, announcing it's out. If you entered, agreed to host, announced last week's CotC, are a biz or econ blogger, or a big name whose linkage gives us a kick, you are most likely going to be notified after it's up.
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Sat Oct 18, 2003
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Star Wars Episode 3 Title Contest
Inspired by this post by Ithy, I am holding a contest for best name for Episode Three of Star Wars. Whatever old Lucas has in mind, surely you have your own ideas, right?
Best ones will get links (if you have a blog) and mentions in a future post. Isn't that a great prize? Yep, sure it is. You know you love those links.
Comment away. Be creative! I know you can.
Bonus: How do you think the basic plot/outline should go? Not will go, but should go, in a maximally entertaining and/or amusing world.
Click that comment link. Type away. You know you want to...
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The router remains evil.
It actually seems to see that it is connected, almost no matter which way I do it. It just provides no access to the internet, and its alleged IP isn't accessible.
I called the company an hour ago for emergency service. They have it setup so you dial 101 and leave a descriptive voicemail. Then the system pages them and they contact you.
Meanwhile I called my brilliant partner's cell phone. No joy there. And e-mailed him at an almost constantly monitored address. No dice.
So I am going to try two more ideas, maybe spend another hour, and then I am going home. Try again tomorrow. Long as they have the internet up Monday, we're fine. Which means when I do go home tonight, I had better work hard on the CotC post then in case I get thrown way off tomorrow.
I just realized as I typed this that maybe the World Series is on, and the people on call are too busy watching
the Sox whip the Marlins the Marlins whip the Devils Yankees. Silly me, expecting help during a big game.
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Technology and Capitalism Can Be Fun
This router is evil.
I have tried it on my computer, where I know I should be able to http or ping 192.168.1.1 (or 192.168.2.1, which is sometimes the default used, though I may be thinking of SMC). I have tried it on my computer with a patch cable and a crossover cable. I have tried it before and after winipcfg release all and rebooting.
I have tried it with two patch cables and a hub between it and the proxy server. I have tried it with a patch cable straight to the proxy server. I have tried it with the WAN plugged in and not. I have tried it before and after changing the TCP/IP settings for the relevant NIC on the proxy server. The cables are all known good. It seems to see the fact that the cable is plugged in unless the hub is involved, so I have ruled that out as a valid configuration, even though with the old connection and Cisco router it was required.
I just e-mailed the guys at the place and updated them in case they are monitoring e-mail. I'm heading back up there again momentarily to do battle again and try throwing a crossover cable into the mix. I know it's good, because it goes from the router in my office to the patch panel port the WAN connection hooks to, and that's also why I suspect it may be needed.
Speaking of style, these Linksys routers are a product in which I question the need for it, at least in non-consumer versions. Take the old Cisco router. It looks slick and high tech enough, but it also looks business-like and professional. Linksys routers look like toys. Maybe that wasn't their intention, but to me that's what they achieved. That was part of why I bought an SMC for our office originally.
Speaking of capitalism, I now have 26 entries for Carnival of the Capitalists on Monday. Woohoo! You're still welcome to send more. Before I went to sleep at 6:30 this morning, I got part of the way through laying out the CotC post. As I got them, I added the blogs and links in bare format. Now I'm going back, reading each post and writing a description. Strange for Mr. Last Minute to start on it early. I must be reforming.
Off I go...
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The router doesn't appear to be much better than the $75 one my office is connected with. Yet if it's the one they agreed to sell us last week, it's $1200 plus $500 setup charge. Yet as far as I can see, there was little setup to be done. I am very confused.
Then again, they recommended I not do my own web hosting on the clients server; they would host the piddly 4 page site as part of the deal. Then repeatedly forgot that, right up to the day of rollout. They could have forgotten that they'd told me we ought to have better than a $100 router for an office of 50 people. After originally not mentioning that anything better than a standard broadband router would be involved.
Hidden costs are fun. They are slightly more money for double the bandwidth, yet the previous ISP supplied an expensive router that they owned, maintained, and would replace if needed. The previous ISP was all but plug and play. They are a bit surprised at having to do much more than turn on the connection.
Yep, I went up at 2:30 AM to work on this because the backup was done at that point and I wouldn't be messing it up with any reboots. It all seems clearcut, until the server can't see the router and they gave me an invalid subnet mask for the IP address used. They did that for my connection too. Same thing; 255.255.255.252 when it needed to be 255.255.255.0, or at least that's what worked upstairs and what we used down here as a correct one.
The Cisco router from the other ISP required a small hub between it and the proxy server (or maybe a crossover cable rather than two patch cables and a hub, but hey, it worked). This router is dead if we do that, and does want to be plugged directly to the server. That lights it all up, and it sees the WAN if it's connected to that cable.
Anywho, back to fight with it. I have reason to suspect that they gave me the numbers and left it for me to do all or most of the settings of the router. Thus I have to be able to http to that IP. Next step is to double check some settings and disconnect the server from the rest of the network so there's no chance of confusion that way.
At least during the day tomorrow I can call my brilliant partner who Knows Things like this better than I do, or call the people at the ISP. Which is a family business down the street. They have multiple T1 lines coming into our building and rent space on the roof for an antenna, and a small area for a server closet. They sell wired access inside the building, and wireless in the area. We're the tallest building in the area; an oversized three stories.
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Crazy Gluing The EU Into Dominance
Randall Parker has an excellent discussion of the EU sovereignty issue, which feels to me a bit like a train chugging full steam down the track toward a crossing straddled by a stalled manure truck on a foggy, moonless night. Dis eez gonna be messy.
I especially liked this part of his commentary, bold emphasis added by me to the most amusing point:
The United States ought to alert the various European states that it is thinking of either closing its various embassies in Europe or converting them to consulates. After all, if London is not going to be the home of a sovereign government then what is the point of sending an ambassador to the Court of Saint James? The US also ought to raise the issue on the United Nations Security Council that since the sovereign goverments of France and Great Britain are ceasing to exist they have no sovereignty vested in them with which to even appoint ambassadors to represent them on the Security Council. Also, the US could cease to greet European state leaders as heads of state when they come Washington DC. If the Europeans want to play seriously at the creation of a super-state we ought to start treating them in ways that recognize that they really are doing exactly that.
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I want to give you the cream of the crop and there is no sense in dumping hundreds of blogs into the blogroll, no matter how good they are.
The roll includes Lileks and The Fire Ant Gazette, both great, both of which he recommends reading daily.
Jen is on there; always an excellent choice.
Bill Whittle is on there, naturally. How could he not be!
So imagine how I feel now. I am on there too! What an amazing compliment.
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Fri Oct 17, 2003
Silence of the Dolls
Velocigore takes the latest Friday Five and has great fun with it, stepping into the shoes of Jeffrey Dahmer and letting us feast on his creativity. Acidman had some fun with it too, worth seeing, but
Jeffrey Kim went whole hog with it. Or does it only taste like hog? Anyway...
Then there's his lovely
jailbait daughter playing Killer Barbie in a haunting performance. Naturally we all hope there are pictures.
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Assheads and Asshats
Rachel was challenged to blog or get off the pot. She is abstaining for an extended time, officially now. Part of it is she types for a living and has a thumb injury, so typing fo fun isn't.
I ignored her advice about not e-mailing her with an opinion about her taking a break. I'm bad. I just had to share how much I love her dog pictures. As I said... aw hell, I am going to post the entire missive because then I don't have to rewrite the part about seeing "asshead" used in an old SF book. I'd meant to blog that anyway, and just had to let Rachel know about it. Here is what I said:
I hope your thumb gets better quickly. That really sucks. I mean, not just if it affects your ability to blog, but to work at your usual job too. Ouch!
I absolutely adore your dogs. Don't let the morons get you down. I'd be delighted if you did nothing but post a tale of their antics and a couple picture once a week. If you stop, I might have to start scanning and posting old golden retriever pictures to make up for it!
In fact, while I know you haven't been posting as much and about as wide an array of subjects, I enjoy anything you write. Doesn't matter if it's about the Lowe's Matrix, the doggies, the Nutpig, or stupid gun laws. You write with wonderful style and readability that I will miss, but don't you let anyone talk you out of taking off whatever time you need, be it weeks, months, years, or an eternity.
Oh, the subject? Heh. I was reading an old SF book and I saw the expression assheads used! I am pretty sure it was "The Two Faces of Tomorrow" by James P. Hogan, from the 1970's. Otherwise it was from Arthur C. Clarke's "A Fall of Moondust," circa 1961 I believe.
I sooooo thought of you and laughed when I read that! Did a serious double-take. I read the book when I was maybe 15, but a detail like that I of course had long forgotten. I was thinking I just had to post about it in homage to you. I like asshat better, but it shows there's nothing new about the sentiment.
Take care of yourself, enjoy your "rest," and get lots of good pictures of the "kids" to post whenever you miss us.
So if you were thinking of e-mailing Rachel yourself, perhaps you will let mine stand for many of us.
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A really great guy I used to worked with, named Moeen, is moving to Florida and will be doing .NET development with a consulting company there. He e-mailed one of the lists I'm on to let people know that the programming job he is leaving was open for people to apply. He also asked for "any contacts/references in FL" that we might be able to supply.
I told him I'd mention it here and maybe there would be fellow bloggers or readers down there he could get in touch with. He's moving to Weston, Florida.
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Science Laze Waste
Friday appears to be science blogging day at Weekend Pundit. Go for the foliage. Stay for the great posts.
This is very cool stuff and useful if it works large scale on heavy duty elements. I believe I saw this mentioned elsewhere as a possibility for treating nuclear waste some months ago.
How about a buggy design in which that's a feature? Fuel cells using bacteria sound cool too.
Then there's Kyoto, which I think was pretty much toast already. Putin seems to have nailed the coffin shut.
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Spending The Night With MedicMom
I am pleased to report that MedicMom selected me, of all people, to spend the night with her. And some other bloggers, going out on the town and having a slumber party. I feel so touched! People have told me I'm touched for years, but I never believed them before. It wouldn't be the first time I've been the only guy at an otherwise all female gathering.
She also tells a joke.
And relays one of those sweet computeresque, sappy feel good whatever you call 'ems like we all get in our e-mail periodically.
Finally, she gets into origami for fun and money to spare, so to speak. No folks, I said origami.
If she gets any more worth reading, I'll have to go there every day! Oh wait... I already do. Why don't you?
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Get Out! Escape While You Still Can!
Kevin points out a way to get off BlogSplat all but free for the first three years. Woohoo! (Hi Mapchic...)
The drawback is if you get too popular you'll run out of bandwidth. How popular? I am not there yet and could handle a couple Instalaches a month plus my normal traffic on the bandwidth offered. It's basically the plan that would be $5 a month many places.
Which means maybe there is a catch, or maybe they simply want to make a name for themselves as a large blog hosting outfit.
Kevin is setting up arrangements to help anyone who signs up get an MT blog up and running. Blogsplat Exodus, Part Two is upon us. Will you escape this time?
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Get Your CotC Entries In
We're up to about an equal number of entries to the first Carnival of the Capitalists at this point. Don't forget to submit yours! If you're unfamiliar with this and new here, click the link over at the top of the left column for an info page, and also see a few posts ago for a more extensive idea of things that are applicable.
I see posts that could be entered all over the place, sometimes on seemingly unlikely blogs that just happen to write something. For instance, about a business, from a consumer perspective. About the loss of jobs through outsourcing. About the challenges to private space enterprises. About poor service and how places could do better. About a silly regulation that affects a local business. You name it.
I'm busy at the moment but I will get the CotC composed and posted by Monday morning, on schedule.
FYI my plan is to rely mainly on descriptions of each link rather than excerpts. If you have a suggestion for how you would describe it, suggest away. Otherwise I just need to know the blog name, the blog URL, and the post URL. Pasting the post into mail is entirely optional.
Thanks for participating!
Oh right, the address for mailing entries is capitalists -at- elhide -dot- com, which is the same whoever hosts, or jaysolo -at- elhide -dot- com.
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Fun With Computing
Well, I just now got the router and the IP info I need to make the switch. The DNS process will be in two steps and so will take all weekend, and the web site won't get transferred until Monday. When the guy came her with the stuff, he wasn't aware they had agreed several months ago to host the site as part of the package for my client. A big four pages, which I was thinking I'd host myself, but everyone told me not to so I'd be safer.
There was also confusion over who would be handling what for DNS, and I don't believe the router they gave me is as heavy duty as implied by the price they told me it would cost.
It looks like rather than doing a quick switch tonight and some basic settings changes, confirming it works, then going on my way and waiting a day to make sure DNS has propogated and it all works, I will not really be able to do much until tomorrow and may not be certain it's all set until as late as Monday.
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I Really Hate Insomnia
Preparing for launch. Go to warp, Mr. Sulu...
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You Can Quiz Me In A Car, You Can Quiz Me In A Bar
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I Hate Insomnia
So I went to bed around 2 or so, read until I started to od off, then turned out the light.
I proceded to go back and forth between lucid thoughts and waking dreams, but never fell asleep. Waking dreams are kind of cool because your mind is cut loose to wander and be weird, whacky and creative, yet you are aware what's going on. I often start to have those before I am asleep, generally as I am still reading and become aware I am not seeing the book any more.
I think there's a relationship between that state and the kinds of highly creative and focused "zone" states I get into.
In any event, every time I came close to being asleep, I was wide awake again and trying to get comfortable, turn my brain off, or something to make myself sleep. The alarm is set for 8:30 and it is going on 5:00 now. The big thing I have to do tomorrow isn't likely to start in ernest until late afternoon, but I am not sure when the router and IP info and so forth will be dropped off for me. I don't really want to mosey in at noon because I couldn't sleep. Plus I need time to go to the bank.
I finally gave up enough to get up, make some food because that can make me sleepy, and sat at the computer with it to surf a little.
Sheesh, I didn't even have much caffeine today. Usually I drink tons of it, but all I have left in the fridge at work is iced tea, Fresca, Sierra Mist, and water. And not much of that. Shopping is definitely called for soon. Usually I have cases of Diet Coke, plus some sugared caffeine.
Sigh... I'll surf a little more, post if I feel like it, and hope I get sleepier soon.
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Another Goofy Quiz
You are Form 5, Dragon: The Weaver.
"And The Dragon seperated the virtuous from
the sinful. He tore his eyes from his sockets
and used them to peer into the souls of those
on trial to make a judgement. He knew that
with endless knowledge came endless
Some examples of the Dragon Form are Athena
(Greek), St. Peter (Christian), and Surya
The Dragon is associated with the concept of
intelligence, the number 5, and the element of
His sign is the crescent moon.
As a member of Form 5, you are an intelligent and
wise individual. You weigh options by looking
at how logical they are and you know that while
there may not always be a right or wrong
choice, there is always a logical one. People
may say you are too indecisive, but it's only
because you want to do what's right. Dragons
are the best friends to have because they're
willing to learn.
Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Via The Wise Man Says
This one had particularly interesting questions that required real thought.
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Well, that was fun, having no blog for hours.
Hosting Matters was subject to a massive DoS attack. They went offline while it was fought upstream from them.
It turns out it was directed at one site they host, a pro-Israel site that posts on Middle East matters. That is just so wrong.
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Thu Oct 16, 2003
"Crazy Incestuous Mess"
What really differentiates bloggers from nonbloggers? It doesn't matter what kind of blogger you are, political, business, entertainment, personal - we're all the same. We are all compelled to take the contents of our brains and put them out there for any one in the world to read. Because with Google, it really could be anyone in the world.
So? Go read and then tell her what you think! Go for it; be incestuous.
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Carnival of the Capitalists
Just a reminder to send me your entries, at jaysolo -at- elhide.com or capitalists -at- elhide.com. I figure I'll finalize putting ito together on Sunday, but I'll add anything received through Sunday evening.
To make sure people are clear on what qualifies for submission, here's a longer list than we've ever come up with previously. (... means "and so forth" in the context below)
Business - Discussion of news, of particular companies or industries, starting and running a business, the challenges facing business, lauding a business or product you admire or vice-versa, suggesting a new idea for a business to pursue...
Management - Management practices good and bad, issues in business/management education, structural issues, recruiting, choosing, paying, etc. of management personnel...
Accounting and finance - Accounting practices in reality and theory, FASB rulings proposed and passed, SEC rules and consequences, GAAP, GAAS, auditing, accounting fraud, fiduciary issues, raising capital, companies in financial trouble...
Human resources - HR management issues, recruitment, dealing with HR and other hiring figures or recruiters from the outside trying to get in, union issues, pay and benefits, the labor market and its impact on businesses or industries, hiring practices and abuses, education and preparation of people for the work force or problems with same, training...
Taxes and regulations - Discussion of proposed new or existing ones and their impact, costs and benefits in the business world, issues with preparation and filing, compliance costs, opportunity costs where new businesses or efforts might be thwarted...
Economics - Monetary policy and other economic issues and their affect on business, the market, the labor market, economic trends, discussion of recession/depression and existence, causes, solutions to same...
Marketing and sales - Advertising, ads or campaigns that are clever or annoying, what you'd do if you were in the shoes of marketing for a company, challenges to selling in a certain way or industry or in light of regulatory changes, sales and marketing ideas and tips discussed...
People - Discussion of people in the world of business and economics past or present...
Blogging for Business - Blogging as a business tool, examples, failures, successes, trends...
The Market - Stock, bond, and commodities markets, regulatory and insuring agencies, trading and market management practices, IPO issues and practices, discussion of any specific stock or IPO past or anticipated...
Capitalism and Entrepreneurship - Theory of capitalism, critique of pure capitalism, discussion of how close we've ever come to pure capitalism, growth or decrease of capitalism and free markets around the world, entrepreneurial people, issues, news, ideas, motivations, innovations...
Legal issues in commerce - Intellectual property, business law, liability issues and their impact on business, proposed or existing laws and their impact on business and the economy...
That's all I can think of offhand. Rob or anyone, any more suggestions, especially obvious ones that aren't a clear subset of something mentioned above? What's here so far is my off the cuff thoughts.
This post will be subject to modification of the original text without a notice it has been updated.
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Lightness of Posting
Plenty to see here folks. I'm sure many of you haven't read everything I posted in the last few days, so enjoy. Meanwhile, I'll be back when I'm back, probably late tonight sometime.
Tomorrow and Saturday, depending how much or little grief it gives me and when exactly I start the process, I'm switching my big client to a new ISP, and there are other things to tend to.
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On Being and Becoming
Acidman borrowed my most excellent Question of the Week and got 14 responses to it, compared to my 3 even though it received probably 100 visitors via Carnival of the Vanities. None of the comments were from CotV visitors.
Therefore, I will borrow his question of the indeterminate timeframe until he asks some other question for your consideration. Plus it's a good one that I and my friends have been known to joke about, not always so jokingly.
He actually calls it "a challenge" even though it's a question, complete with a ? at the end to ensure you can't miss the fact that it's intended to provoke a response. People sometimes miss that point with my QotW posts, no matter how many ?'s they contain. But I digress. He asks:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Of course, you could be oxymoronic and say you want to be a Toys R Us Kid when you grow up. Being oxymoronic is much better than being plain moronic, but let's be more serious than that.
When I answer that I haven't figured that out yet, I am being serious, at least so far as a short answer can encompass. Then again, maybe I am being like
Seems to me I addressed some of this in my Eleventy-one Things; listing as items some of the things I wanted to do from time to time. Of course, depends how you interpret the question. It doesn't ask career. It just asks "what." There's a lot to a "what." Kind of like the number 1. You look at it, and it's just one. Then you look closely, beyond the integer facade, and you find an infinity of incremental values, none of which are 1, but all of which are encapsulated within and could be referenced as part of the one, or the what.
All of which reminds me of how I have been know to explain the concept of a variable to people.
And all of which is to say that what might be "happy," or a certain job, a certain social status, a certain income, marital bliss, children and being a parent, being a grandparent, being healthy, having certain learnedness, being elected mayor, anything that the variable "you" can have from the vast array of values in "adjectives" or "descriptions."
None of which takes me any closer to answering in greater depth, either in the career subset or the broader scope.
I have been interested in business since I was a kid. Loved reading about the so-called robber barons, somehow missing that I ought to think they were eeeevil. By high school I was self-employed and had business oriented something by way of college, when I thought of college at all, in mind.
So here I am, self-employed, running a business, but I could be happier at it than I am, and more "into it" than I am. I should be going at the business the way I went after something that enthused me like setting up Carnival of the Capitalists did, and I am trying to figure out why I have not been interested enough to do so. I feel almost trapped, as often as I feel excited. But on some level, I have what, or approaching what, I wanted to be at many times.
Perhaps the most significant other things I have wanted are the variant on business, to run a space launch business that I'd hope to morph into a terraforming/colonizing business too, and to be a writer. The blog is the outlet for the latter. Talking about and cheering on other people's efforts assuages any remnants of the former, which was mainly a brief burst around late high school. Writing I could no doubt do if I focused and put the right effort into it.
Then there is technology. I was always fascinated with gadgets, robots, computers, electronics, anything like that. By the time I was done high school in 1979, I was worrying that I would be left behind as far as computers and high tech. Heh. During college, that was what I thought I wanted to get into, but I didn't expect I could. Yet here I am. All the more reason I ought to be happy.
If we go personal, well, that's different. At 42 my father had been married, had four kids, and divorced. If you asked me when I was 20, I'd have said for sure I'd be happily married, in a big house on large acreage, if possible, with lots of kids. For all I find it hard to imagine having kids now, I always wanted as many as I could afford, and wanted to be able to afford a bunch, even - maybe especially - if it meant adopting some of them to maximize the number with a fun, happy, loving home and family. I feel like there's a mirror me out there in some quantum echo universe where that came true.
I find it weird to imagine. My older brother always says I should have been the one with all the kids, that I'd be a better father. I'm not sure that's true, but it's a nice compliment.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm in a funk because that's missing and it makes me not care about other things.
The funny thing about this question is that I really don't feel grown up. Whatever the reason, I suspect that's endemic among my generation in a way it was not in my father's day. Or maybe it's always been this way, just everyone kept that... uncertainty, I guess, to themselves and ignored it.
Thinking more about the above comments, here's the worst part. What would make me feel happy and fulfilled right now if I could change to any situation now that I am theoretically grown up?
I don't know. Blank. Completely blank. I know that once upon a time I was sure what would make me happy. The bold certainty of youth! On the other hand, I know what I would do if I won a big lottery jackpot, so maybe selected elements of that, however achieved, are part of the answer.
There you have it. Dazed. Confused. Decidedly not grown up, or at least indecisive as a grown up. How about you? (I hope this doesn't sound silly in light of day tomorrow.)
Shoot, I just remember once upon a time I wrote a poem on this topic! On my TRS-80. I think it started something like:
What to do or be in life
The choices they are really rife
See, not a new topic at all for me.
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I'll Take Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans Instead
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Different Fish to Squish
I can just see the "squish the fish" meme taking hold when the Sox play the Marlins. I'm sad that it won't be Sox and Cubs. That would have been fascinating, because it would have been cool if either team won, and it would mean one of them could no longer nurse a curse.
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Wed Oct 15, 2003
If You Want Control, Set Them Free
Here's one that ought to stir controversy. Megan the cute Diet Coke addict posted against drugs being illegal. This stirred up many comments, mostly in opposition it seemed.
I spewed forth what I thought from my keyboard, and have reproduced it here, though you may also want to read her post and the resulting comments from what will no doubt turn into a large number of people of various stripes.
I have always favored legalization, but along with that, strict liability.
The cost in enforcement efforts, crime to raise the money to buy, crime in the process of doing business in the shadow world, cost in lives, is so not worth it, just as we learned with prohibition.
It can't necessarily be willy-nilly, in a vacuum, all one sided "okay we give up." It has to include "you get high and you break the law, we treat it as if it had been premeditated." It has to include a plan for some level of regulation, maybe, since in our world that almost has to be, where in an ideal world even that could be shed. Let taxation add a price bite that can't so easily be countered by market forces, if you want a policy of reducing consumption, as with tobacco. Let people use, and get treatment, more openly, saving lives and bringing a certain caste into the light, shrinking and helping it in the process.
There's nothing I can see coming from prohibition that can't imrove through legalization.
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Being Invisible Can Be Life-Threatening
MedicMom has an excellent public service announcement on making sure the ambulance can find your house in an emergency, without wasting precious minutes driving up and down the street trying to figure out which one is yours.
This is very good advice which you should all go read now. She even has pictures of offending mailboxes and their numbers, or lack thereof.
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A is A, No is No, Etc.
How about if we change so that no means no? No ambiguity. Yes or no. If you say no, you mean no, not maybe. If you mean maybe, say maybe or be coy without saying no.
Not that "this is rape" is a bad idea either, and it's picking nits to assume it wouldn't be said or be applicable before penetration. As a warning it can as easily mean "the process you are about to engage in is rape, but if you stop now it's not too late."
What if all guys started assuming that first no really meant no? Seems to me that would encourage change. No more plausible non-consensuality.
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Sox win game six!
I want a Sox/Cubs series. That would just be too cool. And I don't do sports.
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What Bwings Us Togethah Today
I'd been meaning to post about marriage, something along the lines not of whether there should or shouldn't be state sanctioned gay marriage, but more like whether there should be state sanctioned marriage at all. Deb wrote an excellent piece that is pretty close to my thinking, with great points. De-legalization, she called it.
The whole notion of the government encouraging a particular behavior, or lack of it, and whether that should be now, whatever the original justification, is a great starting point. Probably beats my tendency to go back into the mists of time, examining why and when "marriage" arose, and why it became institutionalized, and why it became a church thing or a government thing in the first place. All with an eye toward minimalist government. Which would lead me to, perhaps, marriage as a commercial social contract between any two or more individuals, privately witnessed and recorded by a business that does that sort of thing (then again, some folks would say the church is a business).
Anyway, Deb has good stuff you should really go read, but wait, there's more!
Diana talks about marriage versus cohabitation, with the perspective that cohabitation is too easy to get out of for people who really should be married, and to hard for people who should only be dating. The latter is a particularly interesting notion that makes sense to me. It makes breaking up and dating someone else tedious.
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I guess you could call me the Instapunner. Ith made a post about appreciative fans, of which she surely could use more, buying bloggers laptops, and I instapunned it.
It made her feel sheepish, you might say.
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Lazarus Long Must've Had Really Huge Ones
You've heard of bad versus good cholesterol. Well, now it's big versus small cholesterol. It appears that large cholesterol particles enhance longevity, and their size is genetically controlled.
It just goes to show how much we don't know, every time a finding like this comes out.
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All Else Not Equal
Dale Amon has some good commentary on the Chinese space program and related topics, like everything else space and where it's going soon.
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Carnival of the Vanities
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Carnival Go Splat
I keep checking to see if Carnival of the Vanities is up yet at Priorities & Frivolities, but BlogSplat seems to be crashing and burning tonight. Great timing! Can you imagine needing to post something like that and being unable to? Or having people unable to see it after it's posted?
Same thing happened when I tried opening a couple of the entries of CotC #2. I have 11 so far, which is great. Keep them coming. I have a couple I need to examine because I am not sure they are really on topic. One, mainly. It may just be an initial impression.
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One Bad Muslim Don't Spoil The Whole Bunch Girl
There has been some uproar over the EID Muslim holiday stamp being issued by the U.S. postal service. I can understand people feeling so vehement, but I agree with Geoffrey that it should be directed at the radicals, not the ordinary mass of Muslims who are decent people; friends, neighbors, patriotic countrymen just like most of us. Plus it's easy enough to request that the clerk not sell you those particular stamps. There are usually plenty of flag stamps available.
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Tue Oct 14, 2003
Supermarket Etiquette: Its Time Has Always Been Here
What Jen from Massachusetts said! Supermarket etiquette is something to be learned, remembered and followed by all.
I can't tell you how many times I have done a u-turn in an aisle, gone down, up the next aisle, and down the other end of the aisle I started in to get at the items beyond the obstructionist shopper (and kids, friend, indecision, whatever) halfway up the aisle. It's utterly amazing how oblivious most people are. In tight spots I tend to defer all the time, but if I do that often enough I can get extremely pissed off. Just like driving the car, when I am polite and people universally checked their brains at the ends of their driveways that day.
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Rejection Hurts, Rejection Scars, It Wounds, It Mars
Randall Parker posts about a new study of the impact of rejection on the brain. As often happens, the result and apparent reason for it aren't so strange on reflection.
Basically, rejection triggers the same stuff in the brain as physical pain, making it highly unpleasant. Likely that developed as a primitive survival trait due to the social nature of mammals, and better ability to survive when cooperating with others.
In my estimation, I have a higher than average sensitivity to rejection, much as I genuinely like alone time, so the piece really hits home. How much of what we call shyness is fear of rejection? It's a powerful motivator. The irony is that taking fear of rejection too far, thus avoiding situations where it can occur, has the same result as trying and being rejected. At least, that's my theory. Go read it. It goes into much more detail than did my rambling here.
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Congratulations to the Chinese! They succeeded. Yang Liwei goes down in history as China's "first astronaut."
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CotC Update: Host List Freeze
Don at Solport has signed on for the March 29, 2004 edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. I'll add him and the others to the list shortly.
I won't be slotting any additional weeks for now. If you think you'll be interested in hosting in the future, you may still let me know, and I'll try to keep track and offer future dates to those who have expressed an interest, in the order received or something close to it.
On another note, I have already received several entries, which is great. Keep them coming. I've done a little guerilla marketing too, leaving a comment when I see a likely post on a blog that doesn't routinely cover business and economics related topics.
The host list has now been updated to include everyone through March 29; the first 25 weeks. I added a notice in red in the NYAQ section noting the freeze.
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Rocket Man, the Scotty of the Blogosphere, reports on the cause of the sad and unfortunate Brazilian rocket explsion that happened a while back. I agree; here's hoping the fourth try is a success. But I can't help wondering if it wouldn't be standard rocketry practice to have some form of protection against static. Anyone know?
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Gennie has dressed up for the upcoming holiday and it looks really cool.
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RIAA Strikes Again
RIAA gets another suit completely wrong in its quixotic, misguided effort to alienate customers and go out of business faster. It would be fun if one or more of these falsely, or unprovably, sued people could productively and lucratively counter-sue for harassment or whatever might be an appropriate term for it.
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Various people are mentioning union stuff in California, but what finally prompted me to post about it was Matt Scofield's piece on the "coincidental" timing of the rash of strikes in California. He has it loaded with links.
Then I saw John Dunshee posting about an incident in which the Detroit teacher's union caused the withdrawal of a $200 million gift for building new charter schools and improving education in that city. WTF, over? If I were a Detroit resident, I would be on the warpath. John also has some other good stuff from recent days.
Finally, there are posts at Calblog, where they are experiencing the grocery strike firsthand. Calblog husband and one of the twins crossed the picket line by way of checking things out under the guise of restocking that all-important orange soda every growing girl needs.
Then there is the latest post, on why are retail clerks widely unionized but customer service reps aren't? When you say customer service but you are talking technical support, well, that is because they are - more or less and as a generality - geeks of some degree. The same "herding cats" problem of managing such people effectively also goes against their having any desire to unionize. Plus I think companies these days are clever about fighting or avoiding such efforts. I would further suspect, though I don't know, that unions would go after the easiest pickings first, and that the
thugs people who run the unions have been relatively content to sit on the power and cash cows constituencies they already have.
More Calblog strike posts are here and here.
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Relationship Help for the Hapless
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Sportingly Mitochondrial Continuity
This is so wrong. The women soccer players are cool and deserve better, and I say that as someone who is not ordinarily into sports.
The fuss over this is goofy, especially the part where some people think it's the same as cloning. Never mind the mitochondrial DNA as an extra "parent." Wouldn't that simply affect the child's ability to use The Force? Heh.
Poor or missing continuity is evil. Yes Berman, Braga, I'm talking to you. And other writers and producers out there in TV land. Not to mention comics.
All of the above are Justin Slotman, so you could always just use the one link and go read them all. You know, one link to find them all and in the darkness bind them.
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Go For The Cleavage, Stay For... Um... Er... Hmmm...
Ninjababe craves attention. Won't you go check her out? Her blog, anyway. She recently broke 20 visitors per day and was all excited about that.
I wonder what she would do if she got dozens and dozens of hits? Ith learned me not to sling around "the O word" injudiciously, but I think Nin would at least be doing the happy dance. Go say hi and get her all worked up.
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Insurance Can Be Fun
This is kind of interesting. Our business insurance for the office comes due for the year on February 1. Today I received a notice from the company that, at first, I thought read like it would be a "we don't sell this kind of insurance any more. The company we had for four years did that to us. The went from $500 to $750 to $1135 and then stopped. My insurance agent got us better coverage with a different company and we were back down to $500 again. Silver lining.
Anyway, it's an advance notice of exclusions they are adding, changing, or want to emphasize: Asbestos, known or continuing injury or damage, mold, money and securities outside the premises, property damage definition, and war liability. Plus one more that really leaped out at me.
Computer Virus and System Penetration Exclusions
Despite the fact that Computer Virus and System Penetration exposures were not contemplated and there was no intention to provide coverage when the Business Account Package Policy - Businessowners Property Coverages were originally developed, technological advancements have made Computer Virus and System Penetration exposures a reality. To reinforce our original intention to exclude coverage for these losses, we are attaching an endorsement that will exclude coverage for a loss due to a Computer Virus and System Penetration.
Then it goes on to show the specific change and a couple of definitions.
I guess it would never have entered my mind that they meant to cover this in the first place. Probably some people tried to make claims.
The other thing I particularly noticed is in the introductory part of the notice where it says that if you are a terrorist, the policy is null and void. Heh.
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CorporatePR is an interesting business blog focusing on, surprise, current and future PR practice. I found it in my referred logs and will definitely blogroll it next time I update. Along with a few others I have recently discovered.
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If I Only Had Some Cash...
Or as Pink Floyd might say, "If you don't raise some money, you can't start a company. How can you start a company if if you don't raise some money."
Well, it seems that going off to see the Wizard of VC may not be necessary. Cash and happiness may be right in your own back yard.
At The Entrepreneurial Mind today there is a great post on the "If I Only Had The Money" Myth. Most of the high growth companies represented in the Inc. 500 were bootstrapped on little money, raised from personal assets, family and friends. Few were backed by venture capitalists. That's promising news.
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CotC Hosting Policy
I am going to stop accepting new hosts for any dates after March 31, 2004. People can still let me know they are potentially interested, and I will try to keep track of those offers for future reference, but I think it's wise not to commit or officially list any farther out until at least the first several have passed. That leave four more openings.
Further, we'd kind of like to see more business and econ focused bloggers as hosts. What I will do is try to recruit them specifically as replacements should anyone drop out prior to their hosting week. Then again, we'd settle for more submissions from them.
All but one week is filled now. When I update the host list, I will make a note of the policy on that page. You are still welcome to offer to host. I will (try to) keep track of who offers, and when the time comes confirm dates with them as needed. I'd like to get through a couple months of these before officially adding more.
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More CotC Hosts
Okay, I will be adding some new hosts to the Carnival of the Capitalists list, probably as follows:
February 16 - Ryan of Tasty Manatees is definite.
February 23 - Sorge of Forgotten Fronts is probable, just waiting for confirmation.
March 1 - Daniel The Nanopundit is definite.
All are now confirmed. I'll add everyone to the official host list later today.
Update2, @ 3:10 PM:
I have more host to report, subject to confirmation, which I expect won't be a problem.
March 8 - Jonathan Wilde of Catallarchy.net is definite.
March 15 - Torsten Jacobi of TJ's Weblog is definite.
March 22 - Jeffrey Cornwall of The Entrepreneurial Mind, awaiting confirmation, and he also sent a great entry for the next CotC. I repaid this by twice sending the wrong date in my confirmation replies. Duh.
I will update the list later and probably assume these even if I haven't received confirmations to all. This leaves one available opening I will book. After that I will "pencil in" anyone who offers. That is, keep track offline, not commit to specific dates, but keep an idea who offered in what order. Then after a couple months, I'll start adding more hosts officially from that pool.
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Odds and Ends
I am back online at home. Yay!
I have two more pending offers of CotC hosting, which will cover through February 23rd if confirmed. And another just received as I post this.
Posting may be light today as I really have things to do.
I think I already thought of a Question of the Week for next week. If I remember it...
If you send me e-mail about Carnival of the Capitalists, make sure it has an appropriate subject line. Most of my mail is spam. I have accidentally deleted at least one hosting offer as a result of the subject being blank and my not recognizing the sender.
In a case of great timing, this same weekend I will be in the throes of putting together the next CotC, I will also be switching my client's internet provider and making sure that all works. Not that it should be a big deal, and mostly it will involve Friday, rather than Saturday or Sunday.
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Mon Oct 13, 2003
Question of the Week: It's Easy If You Try
I was just about to do the "I'm out of here" post, but then I realized Monday is when I normally post the Question of the Week, if not Sunday. Let's see if I can remember what I had come up with...
Even if you are religious normally, pretend that we have learned there is no deity or anything along those lines. The prophets and such were all just men, whether deluded, imaginitive, or what. What we see is what we get, plus what we can't see that is more extensive and strange than we have yet imagined, however natural in origin.
Okay then... From that perspective, what would you make of the historic - and prehistoric - rise of religions and related practices? Would you say it was a case of God not existing, but we had to invent him? Was it imperative to fill a need most humans have? On the balance, has the existence of religion been a positive thing, a negative thing, or just a thing; neutral? Conversely, would religion being provably null and void be, on the balance, good, bad, or neutral for the human population overall?
Don't hold back, tell us what you think!
Acidman gave his take on the above at entertaining length on his blog. I and others followed with comments. If you are here from Carnival of the Vanities, you may want to check that out in addition to reading what people answer here - and I hope posting your own thoughts, and maybe visiting my main page for more good stuff.
If you are a fellow blogger and would like to address the set of questions and scenario posed here in a post on your blog, please come back and leave a link in the comments.
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Glenn came through for us!
And he's right, that's exactly the reason for his readers to visit CotC.
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China In Space
Rand Simberg posts a pointer to an MSNBC article by James Oberg on China's space program. It's a decent, brief look at some of the details and especially what can, or what will be able to be, extrapolated from known facts.
I am so excited about what China is doing! It's like a breath of fresh air. The libertarian in me is more enthusiastic about the various private initiatives, but paving the way into space for real is one of those things where most of us at least admire the exploratory impulse and a plan well laid and executed, whatever the source.
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Toto, I Don't Think We're In Nigeria Anymore
I meant to post a copy of this spam, which is Nigerian in style, but German (allegedly) in origin. Isn't this a bit low for Germans to be sinking yet?
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Carnival of the Vanities
Remember that? Every Wednesday? Old, venerale inspiration for CotC?
Just wanted to remind you this week's Carnival of the Vanities is being hosted at Priorities & Frivolities. Entries should be e-mailed to boomshock -at- juno.com by 8:00 PM Pacific tomorrow, Tuesday the 14th.
I've been entering my "Question of the Week" each time lately, so I guess I'd better come up with a question soon...
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Sports/Business Crossover Post
Posting on Fast Company Now, John A. Byrne opines that the recent fracas,and management's failure to deal properly with it, is a failure of leadership. I'm not into sports, but that sounds like sense to me from a managerial perspective.
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Subject to any of these guys deciding they want to switch with each other, I will be adding the following hosts to the lineup for Carnival of the Capitalists:
January 12 will be at Dean's World.
January 19 will be at Unpersons.
January 26 will be at Winds of Change.
February 2 will be at Deinonychus antirrhopus.
That last one is a blog new to me that looks quite interesting.
Anyway, there you have it, we're booked through the first seventeen weeks of CotC.
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My stepmother is shopping for flatscreen monitors. I have never dealt with them, so I wasn't sure when she asked me if there were any specs to watch for besides obviously price and size. Any thoughts?
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Brain Augmentation Through Chemistry
This is an interesting post by Zack Lynch, on the topic of neuroceuticals being used in the future to convey competetive advantage through improved brainpower.
Randall Parker has discussed the same topic.
As I commented, I have to wonder to what extent this will be regulated or banned by governments.
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Frank J. was able to move a robotic arm with only his mind in recent experiments. Both Phil and Tony are on top of the story at their blogs.
All monkeying around aside, this is incredibly exciting research and progress. Think of all those who cannot use limbs, or are paralyzed below the neck, and what advances along these lines will do for them. This is the kind of thing antitechnologists would no doubt oppose, condemning people who could be helped to the status quo.
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Woohoo! Julie Neidlinger just had her first ever licensing of some of her art for use on commercial products. Is that cool or what?
Furthermore, someone else appreciated her in a significant way recently. She throws in advice on the artistic temperment and how not to deal with such people. I can understand that. Even though I can't draw, I seem to be creatively minded and tempered enough that the same would apply to me all too often.
She also comments on the state of music these days. Yup.
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Wish her luck. Deb is about to embark on an exceedingly difficult venture. It's very risky, and fails as often as not. Economics may favor it, but that doesn't mean it will succeed without tremendous will.
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A Foot Is Something
The podiatrist appointment went fine, and quickly. After all, it was just a followup. My toe still looks a little red and mildly swollen, but doesn't hurt whatsoever. Which I can't say for my right hand currently.
He didn't mention arthritis again. The cause has been pinned on my flat feet, so I now have arch supports and stretching exercises to do four times a day. The supports should last six months and cost about $29. I'll have to incorporate them into any shoe shopping I do, making sure shoes fit with them in.
Strangely, I got used to them immediately, but the left fits poorly compared to the right, and my toe seems to go down at too much of an angle and hurt when I walk. Then again, the left toe had started bothering me anyway. The main problem with flatness has always been the right, which was the club foot and is extra wide, slightly misshapen. I always have to ensure shoes fit the right, and if so, they will be comfortably loose for the left.
I didn't think to ask about the fact that I spend so much time out of shoes. Like most of it. Arch support does no good then.
No more appointments until my regular doctor checkup in December. Yay!
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CotC Update - Hosts Galore
Misty, who is an accountant, has kindly agreed to host the January 5th edition of Carnival of the Capitalists.
In addition, I have offers of hosting that probably cover the rest of January. Joe Katzman and Stephen Hodgson have both offered to host "late January," so I will offer them the 26th and 19th. Dean Esmay offered to host sometime, so I will offer him the 12th.
I just have to settle the details later, as I have to run off to the podiatrist in a few minutes.
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Joan of Arcadia
Tally up another Joan of Arcadia Fan, who feels as I do about the show. I am hoping I didn't screw up setting the VCR for it Friday, so I'll get to watch the last episode.
I couldn't sleep, so I ended up watching the taped episode at 6:00 this morning. Wow! I have to wonder how long they can get better with every episode.
As for those staying away because it appears too much like Touched By An Angel, which I generally liked but never felt compelled to watch, they're not that similar. This is better and not so preachy.
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Sun Oct 12, 2003
Blackmail Material Pictures
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Donnie of Ain't Done It! has kindly agreed to host the December 22nd edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. That leaves only December 29th left to fill out the year. I'm impressed!
Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind will be finishing off the year, hosting the December 29th edition of Carnival of the Capitalists.
Also, I just sent out e-mail to almost everyone on my blogroll about CotC being published for the first time. My apologies if I duplicated anyone in the process. I know I did that to one person. I think I was careful the rest of the way. I'm eager to get lots of readership and publicity right out of the gate so it sustains well and gets to be read by far more than just other bloggers.
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Carnival of the Capitalists Premiers!
The premier Carnival of the Capitalists is up and looking great!
In case you've missed the announcements leading up to this point, check out Rob's original post and the CotC perma page, which lists hosts and has detailed information.
I'll be hosting next week's edition. Send your entries to jaysolo -at- elhide.com or capitalists -at- elhide.com through Saturday.
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Justene has been posting on the matter of splitting California into 2 or more states down the line. This item looks at the state's seemingly faithful voter revolts at roughly 12 year intervals.
More significant is this item that corrects the confusion of terms between splitting versus secession, talks about secession, and talks about why splitting makes sense. She's right; there is no magic reason why the number of states is 50 and must remain 50. Alaska was long ago, but not without controversy.
I remember vividly when Gerald Ford introduced legislation to give Puerto Rico statehood at the end of his term. I remember my best friend in high school proposing that the way to solve Israel's problems was for them to become a state. I thought that highly amusing. Most of my life there has been talk, sometimes even assumption, that all or parts of Canada would someday join the union. That was especially so with regard to the Maritimes in the event Quebec seceeded from the Confederation.
It's just that once the continental teritories were all divided up into states, any additions were bound to be slower or less obvious in source. The argument that California is too populous for the way it is represented to make sense is a good one. I would further suggest that it reduces the feeling of local control among the populace in different parts of the state. That is one potential source to add at least one state. Then there is Texas, which if I am not mistaken has the constitutional right to split into as many as five separate states.
Anyway, I could easily see it happening in California, especially given the pattern of periodic revolts. Positing the events surrounding such a future split might make great fiction, though no doubt the truth will be at least as strange.
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Can You Stand It? Another Goofy Quiz!
You are Professor X!
You are a very effective teacher, and you are very
committed to those who learn from you. You put
your all into everything you do, to some extent
because you fear failure more than anything
else. You are always seeking self-improvement,
even in areas where there is nothing you can do
Which X-Men character are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla
It's all Drumwaster's fault.
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WMD Reality Check
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I'm seeing a lot of complaints about Blogrolling being down, eliminating people's blogrolls and making the surfing tough.
Well, you're welcome to visit my links! They are hard coded, chiseled in stone tablets as it were, so do not suffer disappearance unless my template goes haywire, in which case all bets are off.
Enjoy! Surf away!
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Dude, Where's My Praise?
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Speaking of Navels...
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You know what's a surefire way to pick up several extra hits if traffic for the day is lagging?
Visit every blog on your blogroll. Especially if there are a ton of them. Invariably some of them will come visit you when they check their referrer logs. It's absolutely foolproof.
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Bills Too High? Regulate More!
Glenn Johnstone notes that California's electricity problems came not from deregulation, but from too little deregulation. Many of us already knew that, and apparently so does Arnold, who already has extensive plans for change in that area. The usual suspects are already objecting, naturally.
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Male Differences: Not Just For Gonads Anymore
Dean found a cool article about how men's brains differ from women's. Or at least, an article about a book on the topic.
I am not convinced this is a politically correct taboo subject. My inclination is to think most people realize this already at some level, whether they fully accept or grasp it. There have been enough scientific announcements to make it known among at least some of us.
Still, it's easier to know there are real differences than it is to act accordingly.
The paragraph that most intrigued me was this one:
Such are the advances in technology and understanding that PET radioactive-imaging and MRI magnetic-imaging scans can now show whether a man and a woman are truly in love by measuring the amount of activity in the cingulate gyrus, an emotion centre in the brain, Gurian says.
I daresay this is what Steve could use and would appreciate.
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Irrational Brightness of Being
I am somewhat inclined to thinking the "bright" meme is silly, even though I am not particularly religious myself. However, the argument posed in this OpinionJournal refutation of brights by Dinesh D'Souza strikes me as spurious and off the point.
Am I interpreting wrong? Can I not be skeptical of the existance of one or more deities, while at the same time recognizing that we can't necessarily know all there is to know through our five overt senses? I frequently make exactly that assertion; that there is far more to the universe(s) than we yet know, or likely can ever know. I see that without needing the divine to explain or justify it.
I am curious to see what Dean makes of this.
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Sat Oct 11, 2003
Carole Matthews on Fresh Inc. posts about managing techies, which is a topic I have discussed at least once here before, emphasizing technical support management. Many people describe it as herding cats.
Most notably, she links an article, "Secrets to Managing Techies," at CIO Magazine.
The article, by Megan Santosus, makes excellent points. While it emphasizes the managerial role of the CIO, this is applicable to anyone who manages technical people.
You have to be prepared to have a reasonable clue and make a solid effort at knowing what the geeks are working with and up against, at the same time being an interpreter to non-technical people in the company. You need to be able to convey a feel for the business needs and goals to the geeks, without suffocating them. This is easier if they take you seriously.
In my experience, the more the management gets into tradititional practices, the harder it is and the faster they lose the best people. Ditto the farther away management of the techs is from being technical themselves. Ironically, the two would seem to go hand in hand.
The article is correct about a relatively hands-off approach, and the creative nature of the work. There's a balance. You can wind up with geeks run amok if there is too little direction and firm, enforced goals. It's just that the goals must be rational, achievable, and not exceed the scope of the tools management is willing to provide. Technical people will work intently for fun, to a point. But they can easily go off on tangents that are fun and contribute nothing to revenue, cost reduction, productivity, or morale. Put it on autopilot, with good people and plans, then watch the wheel with a light hand to stay on course and avoid obstacles.
Respect your geek employees for the skilled, intelligent people they are. They may work for less than you'd expect, if it's fun, fascinating, and there are other compensations like learning new technologies and playing with new "toys." They will never forgive you if you treat them like sweatshop workers.
I could go on and on. Read the article if the topic interests you or you want to see how what it says squares with your experiences.
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Jay Manifold takes the novel approach of doing math on the comparative value, time, distance, costs and required pricing to balance passenger train travel between several cities with the price of a flight. Things come out grim for trains, and even as justification for Acela.
I suspect there might be a free market niche for passenger trains, but the selling point the business would tempt the riders with would not be relative speed and convenience for the price. They would have to sell things like nostalgia, space, tourism (seeing what's outside the windows slow and low to the ground), sleepers, amenities, perhaps innovations like pet-friendly cars. Further, the trick might not be so much to have dedicated long distance passenger service as to toss some passenger cars onto freight hookups going the same direction. Make it cheap and efficient; even the train equivalent of ocean travel on freighters.
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Some time back their was discussion of strange or psychadelic songs, including Green Tambourine by Sgt. Stryker and Incense and Peppermints by me.
I'm reminded of that because I am currently listening to my favorite Cream song, Tales of Brave Ulysees. The music itself is clearly psychadelic era vintage, but then there's the lyrics. Some is not so much strange as clever and superbly constructed,but...
"Tiny purple fishes, run laughing through your fingers, and you want to take her with you, to the heartland of the winter."
How bizarre is that? Cool, but bizarre.
"You thought the leaden winter, would bring you down forever, but you rode upon a steamer, to the violence of the sun."
Phrasing! It can be everything.
"And you see your girl's brown body, dancing in the turquoise, and her footprints make you follow, where the sky loves the sea."
Not to the horizon mind you, but to where the sky loves the sea. Which piques your mental imagery more? I love well phrased songs that conjure so much with so little. I have often referred to Heart's Crazy On You as an example of setting a scene vividly in few words.
"And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body, carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind."
Some people say if you want to learn to write well, studying well-written lyrics can be useful.
If you can believe it, this whole post was inspired originally by having a new Dido song stuck in my head. They played it during Smallville and it was good and distinctive enough that I noticed it as other than background noise. Then I caught part of her performance on Letterman. Earlier today I had "there'll be no white flag above my soul" (cleverly put) and "I'm in love, and I always will be" going round and round in my head. Putting on music to play purged that.
Corrected some Dido lyrics above that I knew were wrong when I typed from memory, once the correct wording came to me. Minor difference.
Happened to hear the Dido song on the radio, or part of it anyway, and found another one for misheard lyrics trivia. Where I heard "soul" the first two times I heard the song, she was singing "door." How I got soul out of door I will never know, but I actually like my phrasing better.
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Good CotC Candidate
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I just imagined a new ordering system for fast food as I was sitting here bordering on falling asleep and almost in a dream state, and at the same time thinking about getting food.
What I pictured was a dashboard computer screen, there for many purposes, which in the vicinity of McDonald's, or whatever, could receive menu and ordering information. For instance, as you get in line at a drivethru. You could then select your choices, which would beam over to the store's POS system, and get a confirmation with, say, an order number. You might also have the opportunity to pay ahead using ATM/debit, credit card, toll transponder, maybe even PayPal, or choose to pay cash at the window. Even if you were paying cash, enough info about you would be encoded to be able to go after drive-offs.
Driving up to the pickup window, you could give the order number to the server, which would make it possible to serve people out of sequence of orders being received, so long as the store organized a fulfillment area appropriately. Almost a parallel to serial processing, rather than straight serial.
This would eliminate the order-taking task for drivethru orders. This would eliminate the problem of lousy intercom systems and accents creating order errors that result in unhappy customers.
As robotics became better, this could tie in with automated collection of cash payments and delivery of food to the customer. As I recall, McDonald's has already tested robotic food preparation, so it's not a big stretch.
The downside is getting the infrastructure in place, and standardized enough to be used widely enough that people want to adopt it. On the other hand, this would be an incentive for people to want some standard form of computer interface in their vehicles, much as almost any car has a radio. Get it working this way with fast food places, add some similar functionality, plus things like directions and maps, reservations, wireless internet, hands-free operation as much as possible, at the lowest possible cost to retrofit - with adoption as a standard by car makers driving the secondary market retail down - and you've got something widespread in a few years.
In the phase when it's not ubiquitous, if not forever, fast food places could work out some kind of ATM-like unit people could drive up to for the same purpose. Heck, they could operate on the assumption that the ordering would mainly be done through that, but make the in-car option available. Imagine the nice buzz by being the first with this?
Of course, these are probably just the crazed imaginings of a madman's hyperactively creative mind, too blown away at the initial thought to see whatever show-stopping problems there might be.
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It's Only Words
One of the people I'm acquainted with through having volunteered for Arisia over the years is an editor for these folks. Nifty article about the work involved in gathering and adding new words to the dictionary. I'm glad Ith pointed it out.
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I Can Relate
I always hated homework too. As I said in the comments, I never got as much of it as kids seem to now. Whether that was lucky, or bad because it poorly prepared me for Real Life, I'm not sure. I was always, and still am, a great procrastinator. One of my favorite quotes: "If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done." Not sure of the attribution.
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To me, the bulk of the pleasure in a relationship comes from sacrifice. It's nice to have a woman do things for me, but you can only absorb so much generosity without feeling spoiled and unworthy. Giving, on the other hand, is something that never fatigues me, as long as the woman to whom I give is deserving.
A woman who doesn't appreciate me is stealing when she accepts my generosity. That ruins the whole thing. And it has happened to almost every man who ever fell in love with unselfish motives. It's one of the things that make men bitter and promiscuous. I haven't crossed that line; I'm disappointed in women, but not enough to take it out on them as a group.
Go read it all. It's inspired by a friend who is marrying for love, mutually, which can seem like a rare thing.
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Stupid White Man
Gennie has something all new! It's the "We Hate Michael Moore Clique," which you too can join if it suits you. She introduced it just today. Very cool idea. Make sure Rachel knows! If she ever starts reading her e-mail again...
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This caption contest really needs more votes. Usually there is a clearcut choice, or two competing onse, but this time the votes are more fragmented.
Go check it out and cast your vote!
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Looking Bad Through Overzealousness
Aw jeez. This is all we need, and a good reason for Front Line Voices to screen and verify as it does. Whatever the form letters were trying to accomplish, it backfired and gave the press more fodder for negative reporting, letting them turn it around and tell us that good news is lies or distortions.
If I were running Front Line Voices, I would be tempted to address this incident specifically, with a reiteration of the verification process and that obvious form letters or duplicates will not be published, or will be removed if they are found out later.
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I have long been of this same opinion on Cuba. The embargo no longer makes sense as a strategy, if it ever did. Let's get them dependent on trade. Let's get more contact with the outside going. Let's make the musculature of the tyrannical grip harder to keep in tone.
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I Am Scum
Argh! So much for breakfast at 10:00. I woke up at almost 11:00, having not even heard the 8:45 alarm. I feel awful.
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Looks like Andrew Sullivan is really keeping on the issue of inaccuracy in the media with respect to Iraq and the "imminent threat" issue. The thing I particularly noted was his mentions of Frontline, which I had meant to mention here.
I saw a commercial for, then a few minutes of, the show on Iraq and how terrible things are. I was horrified! It's like, isn't Frontline supposed to be accurate and get to the truth in a way other investigative or in-depth news shows don't always manage? Yet right in their promos for the episode, they were crowing in a highly partisan, if you will, direction that made it clear to me the Iraq piece would be trash. And this is where my friend Sherri gets her perceptions; PBS and Nightline.
Anyway, Sully's latest on Frontline is this post.
Previously he had mentioned it here.
About half of what he has posted the past few days has been regarding various erroneous media reports, or links to pieces about inaccuracy.
Then there are items like how the traditional way of life is returning for the Marsh Arabs; happy news indeed. More happy news here, enumerating many of the stunning achivements there. Impressive. More so than I had realized.
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So as I mentioned in the previous post, Bob and I talked extensively while we were waiting for virus scans. The cool part was sort of a continuation of recently when he mentioned he'd been listening to 96.9 FM, a talk station, during the commute, and particularly had been catching a guy named Jay. I knew who he meant, but neither of us could remember the last named Severin offhand.
Jay Severin is a libertarian. Bob noted that the first time around, but with a tone of distaste, in light of which he was expressing surprise he enjoyed what the guy had to say as much as he did.
This time around he mentioned Jay Severin again, and observed that maybe he wasn't clear what was meant by libertarian.
Ah, an opening! I went into professorial mode. I do that sometimes. It often amazes me how much people will listen to what I say, or will be inclined to follow my advice or my lead. I don't even have to try to be a leader; people will follow anyway, like it's completely natural.
Anyhow, I told Bob that I had once been a party member, which was a surprise to him. When I told Tim that one day, he reacted with disgust, having the impression that libertarians are some sort of crazed lunatics. This is what the mainstream press and "normal" dual ends of the political/philosophical spectrum want and encourage people to believe. That's made worse by the genuine loons who represent themselves as libertarian when they are no such thing. To Bob, however, it was an unexpected surprise, rather than a dismaying surprise. I affirmed he probably didn't have a complete idea of what was libertarian.
I proceeded to explain in elementary terms, a couple of different ways, which he found enlightening. He found himself essentially in alignment with that, but wondering about abortion. I explained that abortion was just as much an issue of contention among various libertarians as between the general populace. I am not sure if the party has an "official" position. If it does, I would guess it's pro-choice in some form or another. As someone once said, that is the kind of thing legislatures would debate and discuss, and try to come to a law on as to, for instance, a cutoff after which it's not allowed. I guess I would contrast that to, say, gun control, in which there would be no room for debate or legislation in a libertarian world. He was with me on the abortion thing too. Nice to have a receptive audience.
I explained it first in the standard liberal versus conservative light. Conservatives generally want to leave your wallet alone, but want to control what you do in the bedroom. Liberals generally want to let you do whatever in the bedroom, but all your money are belong to them. Simplistic, and alleged conservatives can have their fingers in both, or sometimes neither. Ditto for liberals. There are shades and degrees and unfortunate collusions to our detriment. A libertarian is inclined to stay out of both aspects. Fiscally conservative and socially liberal, so to speak. And how can it be so hard to understand that if conservatives are conservative on social and wallet issues, and liberals are liberal on social and wallet issues, then there are permutations that are not covered by a simplistic, two-part breakdown?
Then I gave the absolute basic philosophical explanation. Libertarians believe you don't have the right to initiate force, or harm as I think I phrased it. The thing is, you own your life and your person, so when you work and make money, and own property, that is derived from the utilization of the life you own. Therefore, taking your property or defrauding you is also an initiation of force. In there somewhere I think I pointed out initiating wasn't the same as defending against someone else who started it.
That's all it took for Bob to follow along and feel at home. Very cool. I wonder where he'd come out on the Political Compass or Nolan chart...
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Fun With Computers, the Sequel
I would be remiss not to follow up on the network card problem mentioned earlier.
First thing I did was uninstall the Neatgear driver, enable the onboard LAN port, and test that. Beautiful. Renee was all excited to see a web site dutifully appear.
Actually, that was the second thing I did! First I checked for a rogue instance of the svchost service on the advice of Chris, associated with the network and using all the resources. There was an instance, but it wasn't a hog, and after I stopped the process and tested, the lockup still happened.
We then removed the Netgear card, installed the generic Realtek card, and voila, no problem.
Bob had bought NAV 2004 so that was next. First we ate, Renee's treat, subs. Mmmm... steak and cheese. At that point Renee went to pick the boyfriend up, as she had his car and he'd been on the road all week. He is a truck driver, transporting art and stuff between museums. We let NAV do a preinstall scan, which meant a lot of waiting. During the wait, Bob and I talked extensively. Not that there's anything unusual there, but I have another post to do on this conversation specifically.
Then we installed NAV. Then we tried to register NAV with the authentication code, but it inexplicably wouldn't work, saying the key was bad. After finding support was closed for the day, we went ahead with the 15 day trial install and another scan, which I would have waited and left going after all else was done. Oh well. Renee came home halfway through that, along with the boyfriend. He's cool. Very nice guy. We approve. At least, I believe Bob approves as much as I do.
Somewhere in there, after the scan, we figured out it was not, in fact, seeing the internet anymore. We rebooted. Nope. Reset cable modem. Yay, success!
Bob got Zone Alarm running and configured again, then we installed the sound card. It was getting late and the CD for that took an inexplicably long time to install, but we got done, everything worked, and Renee was happy. Yay!
The cause? Either both Netgear cards were garbage or, more likely, the drivers were flaking out. Installing a different brand is a nice end run around either of those problems.
All in all, it was as much a social evening as a hair-pulling support evening. It was destined to go okay when I had it online within minutes of arriving there, simply by testing something I ought have tried the previous night.
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Of Wrists and Breakfast
When I picked up parts today, from the sales rep, who sells stuff on the side too, I got something called a "Smart Glove." It's for carpal tunnel, deQuervains (never heard of that), arthritis, hand fatigue, and tendinitis. Figured I'd try it out for my sometime hand pain while typing or mousing. Plus I can see if anyone wants to buy them. I know there are secretaries upstairs who have problems that might merit the glove.
Results so far: At work, it makes using the mouse difficult, but I have it in an odd position. At work I hurt my arm mousing. At home it's the hand and wrist. I am trying it for typing now. I feel very constrained, almost like I have to relearn typing or find a different style that works. My error rate is horrible, and I am relying more heavily on the other hand, giving me a sore finger as a result. It's so slow this way. I can definitely feel the support, but I am not sure, at least at this computer, that it will be my thing.
Meanwhile, my father got his left hand operated on for carpal tunnel and was in a cast for a week. His other hand is all but unusable from polio, so for a week he needed help dressing. It's still a little sore and he has to be careful, but at least it ought to be better in the future. He can't have both hands out of commission!
We're meeting for breakfast in West Bridgewater in the morning, which is cool. I haven't been back to that place since last time he was down and we tried it for the first time.
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I noticed the price of gas had gone down as I drove through Quincy today. There's a full serve near my apartment that ranges from a penny above to three cents below the self-serves near work, which are generally themselves average to significantly below.
Last time I filled, it was near the apartment, at $1.67, with gas near work at $1.68 or $1.69. That was less than a week ago.
This morning that station was at $1.59, and the others on Hancock Street were also down significantly. The expensive place was $1.69. I was apparently being particularly observant this morning, or it was just that traffic was slow. I kept noticing little stores and such on the main drag that I hadn't before. In particular, up in North Quincy I noticed an old-style diner on the corner of a side street. Never registered that it was there before. No clue how I missed it.
Anyway, I was surprised when I got near the office, after coming back from picking up parts in Woburn. Gas had indeed gone down at the self-serves near work, but only to $1.66. Strange. If prices in general have dropped that much, within a few days they should catch up. Any reduction is good news.
I hadn't heard anything on the news about prices dropping. Could have missed it, or they may not have mentioned it.
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Fri Oct 10, 2003
Well, here I go, off to challenge the computer problem again. If I am lucky, Bob will have it all fixed by the time I arrive.
My father just stopped and visited for a little while. I showed him how to access his e-mail through Earthlink's webmail, and he was able to download an appraisal assignment, print it and fax it to the guy who works for him. Technology is so cool. Except when it stops working.
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The Carnival of the Capitalists info page has been updated to list all the hosts for the first ten weeks. The next available slot is the December 22nd edition.
Also, Rob will start putting together the first edition tonight. Ideally you should send your entries by tomorrow afternoon, but they will be accepted through Sunday for the first one. Which means I, too, need to send my entry to rob -at- businesspundit.com very soon.
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We all have the right to speak our minds and say whatever we want. However there is no corresponding right to be heard. Since such a thing would impose a duty on the listener, it cannot be a right. But that appears to me to be exactly what the telemarketers and the spammers want. All I want is to be able to establish the telephonic and email equivalent of a "No Solicitors" sign on my door. As a property owner I have the right to exclude any person I choose from my property, and the "No Soliciting" sign is simply a manifestation of that right. I regard my email account and my phone in a similar manner. They are my property and I control who may enter said property.
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Fun With Computers
About a year and a half ago, I built my friend Renee a computer for the cost of parts. It's been humming along happily ever since. She added a Netgear NIC when she got cable modem service, as they recommended that brand. Which is of course total nonsense, since a working NIC is a working NIC for that purpose.
So early this week, a bad week all around for her, she unplgged her old, dying printer and after that the machine started to flake out. It would hang. It couldn't see the internet. That sort of thing.
Last night I went there to help. Otherwise I might have actually done some serious posting. I was there for hours. We'd both not eaten, so we ordered my favorite non-meat pizza (she's a seafood and vegetarian critter), feta and fresh tomato, and some fries. Yum! Despite being way overcooked on both counts.
To make a long story short, we replaced the NIC with another of the same brand, disabled the onboard LAN, eliminated the old printer in case it was looking for it (I think this was successful, anyway), eliminated everything starting up automatically, plus Zone Alarm's background service and a couple other extraneous or "need to rule out" services, replaced the network cable, reset the cable modem a few times, and no doubt other stuff I've forgotten.
In the end, the symptom was this:
Boot with the network cable unplugged, all works great.
Boot with the network cable plugged in, or plug it in after booting, the computer freaks out, starting with eliminating the ability to move the mouse. If you're lucky, the mouse comes and goes so you can tortuously do stuff with it. Then the keyboard and everything just hangs.
I surmised it might be a virus or it might be the cable modem. As far as Renee could tell, the lights on it indicate all is well. We also thought, at times, that it appeared maybe we did have internet activity from the computer, but that is unclear.
The guy from Comcast, who was really cool, promoted the idea of an IRQ conflict, which initially sounded like a thought. However, I don't think I have ever seen an IRQ conflict on any modern machine in the last 4-5 years. XP and/or the hardware have extended or virtualized the range of available IRQ numbers. For instance, one thing I checked was at IRQ 23, which is higher than the old, familiar range.
Part of why the support guy said that is when we booted while he was on the phone, system activity at startup was so busy it made the startup sound freak out and throbbingly hang for a moment before finishing. I think it was because of too much happening at once, grabbing too much CPU time. However, on a machine of the same vintage and motherboard, I did recently have to add a sound card and disable the onboard sound. It went down in quality of output, and especially of input for dictation. I also had to do that on a newer machine with integrated sound, days later. I had ordered a spare Sound Blaster Live card with the parts I picked up today, so we disabled the sound (which didn't help) and I am bringing the sound card with me tonight.
We did not try swapping the NIC to a different PCI slot. I should have thought of that. We also didn't try the onboard LAN port built into the motherboard, which should have worked flawlessly. I'm taking a spare Realtek card with me tonight, and a spare cable just in case.
Renee is buying Norton Antivirus and Bob is downloading and burning the latest updates for it. Bob had the bright idea of asking if MSDE was on the machine. I'm not sure, but I don't believe so. Come to think of it, I didn't see a SQL Server service of any kind running, so it couldn't be Slammer or something similar.
So I am going back. Bob is going too. We'll get to meet the new boyfriend, who will be there this evening.
In the meantime, my father is coming down from Vermont and was threatening to stop at the office to visit. I forgot about this when I made these plans. In fact, I expected him by now. I told Bob and Renee I may have to be late.
So anyone have thoughts?
Here's the computer, there's the cable modem. You plug the network cable that goes to the cable modem into the LAN por on the computer and the computer hangs. Dead.
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Guess I'm In Trouble
When I was younger and was chronically sick, my brother joked that the problem was "that Hawaiian disease, lackanookie." Looks like it's no joke. Nor any surprise, really. For the same reason I consider bizarre and stringent religious or "moral" codes that attempt to quash sexuality to be perversions against nature, I can see it having health benefits because - hellooooo - it's what we were designed to do. To be eager to do.
Via the Instadude, which means you've probably already seen it, but I just had to comment.
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Thu Oct 09, 2003
Bill Hobbs has kindly agreed to host the December 1, 2003 edition of Carnival of the Capitalists.
We are now covered fully through December 8th. The first available slot if you're interested in hosting is December 15th.
Rob Sama has kindly agreed to host the December 15, 2003 edition of Carnival of the Capitalists.
I have to run and help someone get a network card working, and may not be back online tonight. If not, I'll update the list tomorrow.
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I enjoyed reading the words of wisdom from Paul's father, which he relays to us in this post.
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Fun With Exchange
Today Exchange decided that instead of simply not sending or receiving any external e-mail, or refusing to work for either outgoing or incoming, it would selectively not send some outgoing mail after it hit the OUT folder of the internet mail connector data directory. Yay.
I rebooted the proxy server, on which the "imcdata" resides. No dice. Some stays, some goes, no pattern.
Rebooting the Exchange server fixed it. Very weird. Almost as if exchange was randomly pumping out corrupted mail files that wouldn't process.
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Kevin from Truck and Barter has kindly agreed to host Carnival of the Capitalists for the November 24, 2003 edition. I'll add him to the official list tonight.
I also have pending offers from two others, which would cover December 1st and 8th.
Todd from A Penny For... has kindly agreed to host Carnival of the Capitalists for the December 8, 2003 edition. I'll update the official list this evening to reflect that.
I have a tentative host for December 1st. If he doesn't claim it in the next day, that date will be open.
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Welcome to the Two-Part California
I have long thought this was a fascinating idea.
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Wed Oct 08, 2003
I am temporarily unable to get online at home, so there will be no more posts until I am back in the office tomorrow. Can you say "withdrawal"?
Sadly, I have yet to post about the latest Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill episodes. I guess maybe I will get to that tomorrow, along with Smallville and West Wing, assuming my VCR is doing its job as carefully instructed, taping them right now.
Can anyone explain to me why I would get probably more hits than from any Carnival of the Vanities yet, and not a single comment? I find it astounding. Especially considering the topic. Oh well. May as well go back to exotic hypotheticals, like which historical character you'd most like to be, or which historical character you'd most like to sleep with, or when in the past you would go, or whether you'd emigrate from Earth, or whatever.
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Julie lists a bunch of headlines on the recall result and Arnold's election, all of which are plays on various movies. She then invites you all to create more, based on some movies the headline writers missed, in her comments. Enjoy!
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Deb Yoder has kindly agreed to host Carnival of the Capitalists for November 10. We now have hosts for the first six weeks. Woohoo! I'll update the list momentarily. Volunteers to host November 24 and subsequent weeks, feel free to let me know. No hurry, since we're covered so far out already.
On another note, as Rob pointed out today, it's mid-week reminder time. Send your entries to rob -at- businesspundit.com or capitalists -at- elhide.com by Saturday afternoon. I've tried to point out a few examples of appropriate posts in recent days, but haven't done as much of that as I'd hoped. I'll see if I can add some more between now and Saturday.
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News of Acidman's demise has been greatly unfounded.
Here's the deal: If you try getting to Gut Rumbles via one of the old links that uses the goofy http://18.104.22.168/~robsmith URL, it will barf. The host changed things, but the domain remains the same. So use that!
http://www.gutrumbles.com will work just fine. Abandon the old URL, all ye who wish to visit there.
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Virally Spread Front Line Voices
I just seeded an e-mail designed to virally spread the word about Front Line Voices. It went out to people who do not necessarily read blogs and might never hear of the site. Mainly I chose people I expected to be receptive, along with a couple I was less certain of. I included enough that there ought to be at least 2-3 who will forward the message to others, and so on. I invite you to use the same text and idea to seed it further to folks who might not read blogs or otherwise be aware of Front Line Voices, or create something similar. It will help ensure the site has reach beyond what can be rather incestuous blogosphere readership.
The subject I used was simply Front Line Voices. The text follows:
Ever notice that the media seems to dwell on or overstate negative news from Iraq and elsewhere? Some of them have even admitted to it lately.
Yet if you see letters from individuals who are actually serving there, things sound far different, mostly positive and full of promise.
Now there is a place where letters and firsthand reports are collected, from Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. You can see the real news directly, bypassing the traditional media, or at least supplementing it with a sanity check.
It's called Front Line Voices and is at http://www.frontlinevoices.org. It's in weblog format, operated entirely by volunteers who wished to see extensive, realistic, unfiltered accounts published, positive and negative.
Check it out, and please feel free to pass this along so everyone will get the word.
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Professor Bainbridge has kindly agreed to host Carnival of the Capitalists on November 17. I'll add him to the official host list as soon as I get the chance.
There is still an opening for November 10, if anyone would like to claim it.
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Waking the Dead
It is generally helpful to warn the office building tenants before testing the building's fire alarm system. Which apparently needs work to be fully up to spec, but technically works. I certainly jumped out of my skin.
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Lack of Posting
Sorry about the lack of new posts. I had problems getting online, and am just busy enough now that it'll be a bit later before you see anything more from me. Stay tuned...
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Tue Oct 07, 2003
Pssst... Wanna know a secret?
America is not under threat from terrorists. Really! We've all been delusional for years, and Michael Moore is frantically trying to make us recognize reality.
Oh wait. Strike that. Reverse it.
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No Loyalty Goes Unpunished
Bill reports on bad behavior at DHL after the buyout of Airborne. As I pointed out in his comments, an interesting post that could be entered into Carnival of the Capitalists.
As for the incident itself, it really irks me when companies do that kind of thing. Why convince the working population that loyalty is misguided and will be punished?
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State of the Blog
Buzz has written an excellent "state of the blog" report, musing on how things started and went, and asking how your blog is doing. This part is something I have observed here, and more so all the time:
*The Bonus* I’ve “met” a lot more fun, interesting, caring people than I ever imagined that I would. That aspect of this whole thing was totally unexpected. The fact that anyone reads this site at all is pretty astounding to me, actually. But some people do and I truly appreciate it.
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Mon Oct 06, 2003
CD-R Longevity Revisited
Some time back, there was a bit of an uproar, with posts on my blog and others, ragarding allegations unexpectedly short shelf life of CD-R media.
In response to a post about this on a mailing list I run for former colleagues, one of my friends pointed out this promising data on TDK brand, saying their technology made sense to him as a photographer. TDK rates its cyanine-based CD-R media at 70 years.
From there I hopped over to this page, which states there was some misrepresentation of longevity. This page talks about the paucity of longevity testing by manufacturers, the importance of same, and links the the available data.
There is a page that specifically addresses the misrepresentations in the media, which apparently dates back a number of years. This makes me wonder if the recent report was simply bad information carried forward.
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Question of the Week: Sex Edumacation
I thought I'd end up going back to a more exotic question this week, but in the end I came up with a topic to which everyone with plumbing, hormones and a modicum of nerve endings can relate. You don't even have to have kids yet to answer this, since it's what you would consider appropriate if you had them. That includes those of you with kids, who can feel free to compare what you say is best with how things actually went when it was your turn.
When should kids begin learning about sex? At what point should they be fully informed as to "what goes where, and why"? Where and how should they learn this? Different for boys versus girls? Do you think this differs, or should differ, from a generation ago? Or earlier?
How did your experience, when you were a kid or with your own kids, differ from what you consider preferable?
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Creativity and Madness
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Megan Invites Feedback
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All In The Family
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Creating the Next Big Thing
This is an absolutely fantastic article on creating killer products, and how it requires a different approach than is generally applied by those looking for new needs to fulfill, or improvements to existing products to be made.
The shake example floors me, yet makes tons of sense. It's not the same thing at all, but because it deals with fast food, it reminds me of the discussion I had with a Taco Bell franchisee in North Carolina about ten and half years ago. They had been opening at 10:00 AM. As an experiment, they tried opening at 9:00 AM, which was odd as they didn't offer breakfast. They got minimal traffic during that extra hour, but traffic increased dramatically during the 10:00 hour. Since people needed to be there to prep anyway, and it affected later volume, it was well worthwhile. I was there to help install a new POS system, and to train the users and make sure things went okay when they went live.
It would never have occured to me to buy a shake as breakfast, yet it makes sense. I normally only buy shakes at Burger King, and then usually as an ice cream surrogate as well as a drink, possibly in response to a craving.
Anyway, the article talks about recognizing needs and room for improvements not in what the competing or existing products you perceive filling the niche are, but in what the buyer is "hiring" the product to do. And what other things they "hire" that the product might be able to take the role of instead.
Among the many other things, the authors discuss the history of Sony's innovations (I never knew they invented the 3.5" floppy drive), and the more recent lack of same.
It's all fascinating. What's more important than coming up with the next big thing?
Found the article above via Capitalist Brief.
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Capitalist Brief is a new site, not a blog, that rounds up business news article links from mainstream web sources. The proprieter describes it as "similar to the drudge report" as a source of news links, but for business. Looks interesting.
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Shoot, I just realized it's time for a new Question of the Week, and I haven't given the slightest thought to what it should be this time around. Return to the speculative and technical (time travel, space travel, alternate reality, whatnot), or go with personal (like baby names)? Hmmmm...
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Iraq Toys Now Operation Give
I would be remiss if I neglected to point out that the official web site for toys to Iraq is now up. Officially it is called Operation Give. I'll update my sidebar link to point to it when I get around to it.
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Megan on Linux
Megan McArdle has a well written TCS article today, on why open source may be doomed. In a way it posits the same kind of thing I discussed in an entirely different context in this post about companies relocating. There is more to consider than the obvious savings and benefits.
She discusses Linux in light of the SCO lawsuit, which may have merit, but even if not, creates an air of uncertainty, and makes people who might go with Linux in their IT department wonder what other code may be in there as a liability time bomb. Not a consideration I'd have thought about.
She goes on to compare open source, and the apparent way in which it trumps paid operating systems and software, to the notion that car dealerships added no value and could be circumvented through online sales. Not so fast, as it turned out. There were less obvious economic and business reasons for dealers to be of value.
So it it, she suggests, with software for money versus the dream of open source.
Is she right? I don't know. Does she make excellent points? Absolutely. If SCO's suit proves unfounded, or settles out with enough major players to make them go away, or if the offending code is replaced, there will likely remain no shortage of those who would continue with or adopt open source. Just as there are reasons besides cost for not using Linux, there are reasons besides savings why people might want it. Religious reasons. Security reasons, if only to mix the IT infrastructure or use in firewall arrangements. The possibility also exists for indemnified versions, such as HP began offering, to take over as value added offerings.
I doubt it will go away entirely. Worst case, it will become more of a niche player than it is now, leaving more of an opening for some other non-Microsoft alternate to grow. There is too much demand for alternatives for the market to go away.
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Go Girls, Indeed
I hope these women succeed, but it's always an uphill battle. The coolest thing is this, with which I couldn't agree more:
They don't want power handed to them, they want the chance to become equal, to earn offices on merit. That, folks, is true feminism, real feminism. I wish them luck. I hope that we are seeing history in the making.
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This is a real shame. Sounds like she was quite a woman, doing much good in Somaliland, yet somebody had to go and shoot her.
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I have a pretty good Halloween story. Do you guys want it now, or would you rather I wait until closer to Halloween?
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Deb has a post about homesickness, on which I fell compelled to comment variously.
Mmmm... cheescake! I agree: "There is just nothing in the world like a truly exquisite cheesecake."
I also have excellent parents. I do my darndest to avoid asking for anything from them, even when I need it.
Deb just received a voter registration card from Florida, where she used to live. I also learned how the rolls sometimes don't change so efficiently, and could conceivably have allowed me to vote in more than one location.
I lived in a small town during most of college, with my father and stepmother. See two paragraphs ago. In that town, I was registered independent, which they now call unenrolled because people went and used "independent" in the names of parties. I then lived in Florida for six weeks; not enough to ever have "officially" resided there. I was never homesick that I can recall, or not much, but it was a short time. I came the tiniest smidge from remaining there for good when the friend I was staying with moved back north. I liked it enough to, where he hated it. I figure in some other quantum universes, there are versions of me who stayed in Florida.
Then I lived with my brother, in the same town where I grew up. Never registered there when I was at his house. Then I moved to another town and registered there. I think that was the election when I voted against *shudder* Dukakis. Ugh. Evil, evil man. Anyway, then I lived in western MA for a couple years, three different towns.
Finally, I moved back to the town where I'd lived when in college. Eventually I renewed my license and had the easy opportunity to register to vote then. Just for giggles, I registered Libertarian. After all, I'd spent a few years as a card carrying member before they ever had official ballot status. Figured the more registered they had, the better it looked.
Lo and behold, I got a confirmation from the town of my change from unenrolled. I was still officially on the rolls in that town about eight years after having moved away. Weird.
I am lucky enough to live walking distance from the water. Do I ever take advantage of it? No, because I am an idiot. It's about a mile. I don't even drive there. And yet I find the idea of moving more than a few hours inland of the ocean to be a strange notion. Maybe it's the genes.
Anyway, that about covers the thoughts and memories inspired by Deb's post.
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Prometheus 6 has an excellent example of a post that could be submitted for Carnival of the Capitalists. This is on Americans loving free trade until they start losing at it, then they get into things like catfish and shrimp wars.
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Sandwiches As Blog Topic
Who'd have thought?
I still have some reservations about this recipe. It doesn't seem natural to toast PBJ with the PBJ already in the sandwich. And cheese? I love cheese. Cheddar. But I can't imagine that.
I have to agree about resealing the bread! It drives me nuts when people leave bread unsealed so it goes bad quickly. I agree about the symmetry too. That's one of those goodball, near-OC things for me.
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Weekend Pundit continues to report on New Hampshire's efforts to woo overburdened California businesses. Looks like the libertarians won't be all that's moving there.
One thing that Chan said made me want to chime in with another possible theory. He said:
Considering how anti-small business California's state government has been over the past few years, I'm surprised that businesses haven't been abandoning the Golden State in higher numbers. On the other hand, it could be that those businesses didn't survive the business atmosphere in California long enough to move out.
It could be. However, there's more to moving than simply comparing costs and deciding a new location across the country has lower taxes and operating costs. It's a bit like those cost discontinuities you see in economics or cost accounting. If we produce 10,000 widgets, the cost is $10,000 and comes to $1 per widget.
Alas, 10,000 is the maximum production, and to produce the 10,001st widget will require $200,000 investment in plant and equipment. This is worth it if sufficient demand exists to go far beyond 10,0001, or if a new line, call them gizmos, can be produced by the same facility, with adequate demand to bear the cost and make producing more widgets worthwhile. Otherwise we keep demand down, or perhaps look into outsourced production that may be more per unit than our current facility, but saves over building our own new one just yet. Obviously I am simplifying things in these examples.
So to consider moving, what are you taking into account besides purely taxes and operating costs? Are any employees hard to replace? If so, will they come with you, and what costs will it take to persuade and aid them in doing so? Are there sunk costs; fixed capital obligations that can't easily be waved away, long term leases that will have to be bought out? Will relocating impact the cost and efficacy of your supply chain? Will there be a cost in PR terms if you move and disemploy people in the old location? Do any costs or issues outweigh the possible benefits?
Further, things may be bad currently, but will they remain bad? Are you willing to bet that the business climate will not improve within a timeframe short enough to obviate any benefit of moving?
Are there customers for whom your moving would be a problem, meaning you lose them or see reduced business from them?
Relocating is a big decision. Even expanding in a far distant area, while not relocating the original operation, is a big decision. Nice as lower taxes, lower insurance costs, and so forth may be, they represent only part of the equation, and the equation can be fuzzed by gut instinct or imponderables, whatever effort is put into quantifying every detail.
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Sun Oct 05, 2003
Misquoting for political purposes? Since when would anyone do such a thing! Of course, it was entirely accidental, I am sure.
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I don't remember that I ever had a notion like the one of chocolate people that Dawn recounts, but it's typical childhood stuff and very touching.
The part about Italians and Catholics being called niggers rings a bell from an incident when I was older. My cousin in Texas was about to be married for the first time. Her husband to be was of Mexican descent. His parents were from there. My cousin's brother refused to go to the wedding because he didn't like his sister marrying "a nigger." That's the other reason I was the only male relative present, and walked her down the aisle. (Her father drowned when she was 9.) That first husband is now her ex, but he was a nice guy from a good family. He had a gourgeous sister with the same first name as my cousin. When my cousin and her new husband, an even nicer guy, were visiting at Christmas time (it was their fault we had snow), she gleefully let me know that her ex-sister in law was still single. Heh. And pretty amazing, really.
I can also relate to turning chocolate myself. My freckles have gotten more and more pronounced with age. In addition, some years ago the right side of my forehead turned a splotchy, almost solid brown. Sort of like a perma-tan in one area. In the last couple years, the same thing happened on the left. I had a previous doctor look at it after someone said it resembled a fungus. Nope, just pigmentation. My current doctor noticed it as a possible indicator of an obscure cause of hypertension (Cushing's, as I recall), but decided that was not the case. Overall, my face and arms have darkened, as if I have a tan that never completely goes away. Which is neither here nor there, just an interesting observation as I've aged.
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The Bear Facts
David over at Sketches of Strain has a most excellent and informative interview with the one and only N.Z. Bear.
I have to second the sentiment David expresses. In all the rushing over to check your stats on the Ecosystem, or look at the new blogs in the Showcase, how often to you actually go read N.Z. Bear's blog itself? It's well worth a read now and then.
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Twins Return (Well, One Anyway)
The Twins Tell The Truth is back from its unannounced hiatus. Maddy thought nobody was reading.
I'm a big fan. It brings back memories of being that age, as well as being fun to read the youthful perspective.
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I just watched Alias, which I also caught most of last week. I must say, I am getting into it more than I did any time since the initial handful of episodes the first season. Gennie would be proud.
At the same time, I did the clicky thing to the WB during commercials, and at the end, and caught some bits of Tarzan. That wasn't so much an interest as a morbid curiosity about what they were thinking when they decided to do an urban revisionist variant. What really kept me clicking back was "Jane," who looked tantalizingly familiar (not to mention attractive) to me.
Turns out the actress has never been in anything except a couple guest appearances on shows I know I never saw. Guess she just has that kind of a face. I was actually thinking she looked a bit like Eliza Dushku, which reminded me I wanted to catch Tru Calling when it started. I thought it looked interesting. I have no idea when it starts and I don't remember the night or channel it's on. Go me!
Anyway, at the end of Tarzan, I realized it reminded me a little of Dark Angel. You know, that good show that last season Fox combined with an hour of Firefly on Fridays to market heavily as their SF adventure night, worth staying home for. Oh wait! That's what real TV execs with clues and marketing savvy might have done. How could I forget?
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The situation we face with Korea, is not one we will face with Iraq. We did not take Saddam out because he presented an "imminent danger" to us. He had to be removed because if allowed to develop to the point where he could be considered an imminent threat, it would already be too late to do anything.
So, whenever you hear someone saying that we should not act because the threat is not imminent, what they mean is that the threat has not developed to the point where massive American casualties would be certain; and if that is the standard they are using, you have to wonder why?
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I saw this post yesterday and neglected to link it. It's a breakdown of the colors, up through the 64 size, in a Crayola Crayon box. Complete with notes on changes and color retirements.
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Canada's Best and Bloggiest
Did you know that Paul has one of the best blogs in Canada? Now you do!
Of course, that's only for this month. The competition is just waiting for him to slip up and become dull, boring, complacent, and too frequently on break.
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After Bedtime? Right...
This woeful tale of trying to watch a movie after the kids were in bed totally cracked me up. Tell me again why I am disappointed not to have kids?
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Rummel on a Roll*
James Rummel has some interesting stuff today. There's a fascinating post on sniper rifles, and I am not a "gun person" as such. It's cool as history too. Then there's a piece on women in the armed forces. Not a bad thing, but not handled as well as could be for maximum efficacy. He observes that he hasn't changed, but the political landscape has shifted under him. I suspect that gives words to how a large number of people feel. Why is textbook weight a problem now, when it wasn't in my youth? Could it be students are using their backpacks as surrogate lockers? At any rate, the schools that wish for lighter books should use their purchasing influence on the market, not invoke rules.
* Also not a recipe. When I linked Dax on a roll, he ran out of bandwidth. Hope I am not unlucky this time!
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Robert Prather has kindly agreed to host the November 3 edition of Carnival of the Capitalists. We are officially covered for the first four weeks so far. Be sure to let me know if you too would like to be a host.
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For those who may be interested, there's a roundup of links on BloggerCon here at Feedster, which I happened to notice because it was in my referrers a couple times.
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Carnival of the Capitalists Reminder
I finally got around to mailing a large list of non-business, non-econ bloggers. By way of posting a reminder here, I'm just going to use exactly the same text...
Carnival of the Capitalists debuts in a week. You are all invited to enter, if you have a substantive recent post on a relevant topic that you would like to highlight. You may also suggest another blogger's post for inclusion.
The objective is to have a weekly collection of post links, similar to the venerable Carnival of the Vanities, on topics such as business, management, economics, marketing, accounting, sales; the kinds of things you might expect given the name including "capitalists." The idea is to highlight posts both on blogs that normally post on those topics, and blogs that don't, to the benefit of bloggers and readers.
We'd also appreciate any publicity you may wish to give CotC. The more blogs announce it, the more bloggers and readers will be aware to enter and to check it out each week.
This has been brief info on CotC. For more information and a list of hosts for each Monday publication date, there is a permapage at http://www.elhide.com/solo/cotc.htm. BusinessPundit Rob, who initiated the idea and made me his cohort, has an excellent post announcing CotC at http://www.businesspundit.com/archives/000675.html.
There is a permanent e-mail address for submissions, capitalists -at- elhide.com, which will forward to the host each week. In addition, submissions to the first edition may be directed to rob -at - businesspundit.com.
Thanks for reading!
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For those of you into sports, SportsBlog has a Friday FanFest that rounds up links to sports posts from around the non-sports blogosphere.
It is very similar to the what and why of Carnival of the Capitalists, and is a great idea.
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Celestial Property Rights
OrbDev tries to charge storage fee for NEAR-Shoemaker on Eros. NASA balks. The result could be interesting, since the ultimate issue is property rights in space.
Personally, I don't believe terrestrial authority extends there, but some reasonable standard of possession must be the basis for property claims. I cannot simply say "guess what, I own Mars!" But if I land on Mars and can enforce my claim, then I do. If I can only improve, use, and enforce my claim on a portion of Mars, then I can't be construed as owning the whole thing. Duh. Basic stuff.
Article link via The Speculist, who also has a bunch of other interesting links in the latest post.
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CEO: Concentrically-circled Executive Officer
Rob frequently has posted about Sarbanes-Oxley and the implications thereof.
One of my thoughts on the requirement that a CEO personally certify things with which he or she may have little connection or detailed understanding has been that CEO pay would tend to increase as a funtion of the liability risk being assumed.
Corp Law Blog has a post, amusingly and appropriately titled "strapping the CEO to the front bumper" in which, among other things, that very concern is raised. As Mike concludes:
All this leaves me wondering what purpose this new CEO certificate really serves, other than to paint another set of concentric circles on a CEO's back.
If you asked your insurance company to shoulder additional risks, you'd expect to pay it a higher premium. Over time, as CEOs become CCOs (Chief Certification Officers) and DFGs (Designated Fall Guys), we should expect them to demand even higher pay to compensate them for bearing additional risks.
On another note, via this post I found a link to the PDF of Sarbanes-Oxley, courtesy of Secrities Lawyer's Deskbook. I downloaded it so I might, if the whim strikes me or I have insomnia (not a problem lately!), I can read it and see firsthand what it really seems to say all around.
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Does anyone know exactly how the time zone chart in Site Meter works? What I mean is when is the cutoff?
It's obviously not cumulative, measuring relative visits from different parts of the globe for the life of your Site Meter account. Currently I show visitors from 11 time zones. At a different time of day, that can be 4 or 5. At most I have shown something like 14 at one time, but overall I've had visitors from most zones over the course of time.
Is there a time of day it resets? Or is it the past 24 hours as of the hour in which you look at it?
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This educational post, rather heavy reading for most of us, brought back memories of college. The concept of "reasonable man" came up in my accounting and investments classes, in association with fiduciary duty and relative "safety" of investments.
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This is kind of cool. A 14 year old kid challenging on free speech grounds the element of McCain-Feingold that prohibits any monetary political contributions by minors.
Via Election Law Blog, which is chock full of recall stuff and other goodies.
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Weekend Pundit has been posting a series of really gorgeous fall foliage pictures. You should visit there, if you enjoy that sort of thing. Not to mention there's always other interesting stuff.
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The Apple Game
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Since I was last online last night I have had this mix of e-mail...
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Sat Oct 04, 2003
Dax On A Roll*
Dax has been interesting lately. This is the first time in a few days his site hasn't errored on me when trying to visit, so I hope he changes hosts soon.
The main thing I wish to direct you to is the touching story of the Cracker Jack Man. Very cool. Reminds me of an elderly woman named Lydia I knew during a summer we stayed in Bourne when I was a kid. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups remind me of her. One year we spent some time in a relative's cottage, and another year we stayed in a partially completed house my uncle was building adjacent to the cottage.
This crap is insidious. I intend to do my best to avoid it.
Finally, there's navel gazing and musings about the act of blogging, the styles, the focuses, and a part two of the same.
* No, this is not a recipe.
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Wrong Number Please
This is a great exampla of how to handle it if a number easily mistaken for yours gets assigned to a business, so you get slammed with unwanted calls, and they won't get their number changed.
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Do you ever have dreams that are so outrageously exciting and fascinating that you don't want to wake up?
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One thing I will never forget is the day my father's original body shop burned down. I wasn't in school yet. It was perhaps a tenth of a mile up the street from the house, and burned during the day. The place wasn't properly heated, and my father would warm paint on a hot plate. One day he was doing that, answered the phone, and while he was distracted, it caught fire. Burned the place to the ground.
I'll never forget the smell, or what the place looked like as charred rubble, or my grandmother and I watching out the upstairs window while she cried.
Then I'll never forget the new shop going up a few years later, on the same spot, but modern by comparison the the original building, which had been something else before my father bought it. When the second shop burned down, it wasn't as memorable to me. It happened during the night.
Then I vivdly remember the construction of the third shop, which is still there. It's on the other side of town, and is a metal building. Sheetrock, metal, and not much to burn.
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Gutdude did one of his cool nostalgia posts, though it was a bit heavy on the sports. I proceeded to comment at some length, and thought it might be worth sharing as a post; some nostalgia-like thoughts of my own. I may add more at the end.
I'm too young for JFK, but I was born in his administration. One of my classmates in Jr. High actually did remember. Which may seem strange, but my earliest memories are from when I was 2, so I believe her.
My grandfather refused ever to vote again after that; after "they" killed Kennedy. Ah, the amazing "they" and all their special, despicable powers.
I think I remember my first day of school, but nothing stands out about it. I do remember prior to school, going to take the placement test. I remember nothing about the test, but going to take it and walking through the hall with my mother afterward. It placed me in the dummies class, which was all wrong, and made them stop dividing kids afterward because the "dummies" did better with me around. I remember which room and where I sat, and many snippets of that year.
I remember the summer preschool session we had before first grade, and how I was always worried about getting on the wrong bus (out of only 2) to go home. I never got over that background worry all through school.
I remember how dreadfully confusing it was at first to go to Jr. High and have to change rooms after every class. And after going to my town's elementary for 6 years, how weird it was to have most of the kids be strangers from the other 3 towns in the district. My town was the 2nd smallest.
As for flying, I don't know as I wished to fly like a bird, but I always imagined, quite vividly, gliding over the ground rather than walking. It was much like Zenna Henderson's "People," but before I'd ever read those books.
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Those Silly Quizzes
[The following post was from March 2 at 9:52 PM. I'll migrate it to that date and time, but I thought it might be fun to let it stay on the main page for a while and be seen, since nobody was reading me yet less than a week into blogging.]
Here I go again, taking those silly online quizes. I took "what kind of boyfriend are you" and got:
You're Prince Charming, A Knight In Shining Armor,
Etc... You are sensitive, caring,
compassionate, chivalrous, affectionate, &
would be a lucky catch for any girl.
Congratulations on being one of the few good
guys out there! Now maybe you could give all
your friends lessons?
What kind of boyfriend are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
So now you know ladies.
Amusingly, before I got to the boyfriend quiz, I took one that I didn't know when I started it was directed at women. So for what my appearance reveals about me I got:
"You're a Moon babe: A guarded exterior protects your sensitive and emotional nature, so you don't often share your deepest feelings. You've got a great memory, a wild imagination, and keen intuition. You put your trust in these qualities rather than in what you're learning in school. Though you're tight with your fam, you still need to retreat from them on occcasion. Your amigas mean a lot to you, and you'd do anything any of them asked you to without needing to know why. But you tend to lecture them at times instead of just being their friend. When a bud talks behind your back, you hold a grudge for months. Your feelings for a special someone can run deep. But since you've been burned before, you tend to steer clear of potential relationships. Some guys figure that you're just playing hard to get, so they keep on coming back to drink in more of your ultra-feminine ways"
Well, one of friends always tells me "you're such a girl."
The whole associated list is at http://quizilla.com/users/mistydawngray/quizzes/.
Which Breakfast Club character am I:
You are Allison (Ally Sheedy) the basketcase.
Sometimes you feel like you're invisible to the
world. All you want is for someone to love you
& pay attention to you. You're sad because you
think the world is a cruel place. Try to
lighten up. Surround yourself with happy people
& try to enjoy life. Just because you feel
everyone else's heart is dead doesn't mean
yours has to die too. Oh & SMILE!
Which Breakfast Club character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Looks like that's all for now.
Or not. I took the "What does your future hold" quiz and neglected to add the result:
Creativity: One thing's for sure- no one would call
you ordinary! You've got loads of imagination,
& your friends never get bored hanging out with
you since you're always coming up with wild
ideas. There's no doubt you'll make use of your
fierce talent in the future, whether you're
painting a masterpiece, writing a novel, or
covering your fave bands for a magazine.
What does your future hold?
brought to you by Quizilla
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Migration: Not Just for Birds Anymore
I thought I'd continue the long overdue movement of posts from the old BlogSplat site, which is easier said than done.
At this point, everything I ever posted in February is now here.
Now for the real challenge; the subsequent, complete months.
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Once again, a brilliant, incisive, thoughtful, intelligent post from Acidman as an example to us all. It is about the casual use of the word "nigger" in his youth, the sorry system of segregation that we didn't create and the aftermath of which still hasn't completely chilled. It's about who is really racist.
I didn't grow up in that kind of environment. I never really heard the word nigger. There were no indications of racism whatsoever in my family. The worst kind of thing I ever heard was my mother's father referring to "dumb portugees." Big Portuguese population in southeastern Massachusetts, and not always as keen as could be to assimilate. The thing is, he had buddies who were Portuguese, relatives from marriage, and clearly never meant it as anything more than a serious ribbing. He was not a prejudiced man. Curmudgeonly, argumentative, feisty, not prejudiced.
So it was to my great surprise in my late teens that I heard my father's father use the word nigger for the first time. That was in reference to himself, but he was more prejudiced than I ever knew, but I was never aware of that at an age when it could have had any influence. And even at that, with him it was more abstract. They're lazy, want to sponge off welfare, that sort of thing.
The context was that when he worked on a farm, he would tan "so darked they called me nigger." In the first half of the last century, that's the kind of thing you'd expect.
Ironically, my sister always speculated that there's some African blood we don't know about in there somewhere, due to my grandfather's features. Nose and hair, mainly. Who knows. And if I knew it were so, I'd be no less proud of it than the English, Scottish, French (well, a little less proud of that currently...), German, Irish, Dutch and Indian (Wampanoag) blood that to the best of my knowledge is my heritage.
We are at a time when none of that matters. Just imagine what our culture would be like without the African influence? They are a proud part of America. It is time to move beyond the troubles of the past; no more atavistic clinging to the bad. Embrace and expand the good.
I grew up in a rather white world. I don't recall any black kids in elementary school, yet ironically if there were, it would have been a non-issue. As it was when we had at least on black kid in junior high. Everyone loved her. She was cool, funny, and was voted the class vice president.
There was a black family in the area that was friendly with my father. One of the brothers was the local source of inexpensive "warm" goods. I vividly remember one time my father saying "take it easy" as the guy departed. He replied "heh. Thake it any way you can get it!"
There was a black couple locally we were friendly with. The guy worked the bogs (which means my grandfather had to have worked with him). They were the nicest people in the world. Apparently there was ample prejudice around. From what I heard later, when he died, someone gave him a cemetary plot to be buried in and the idea of a nigger being buried in the cemetary caused an uproar. Idiots.
Yet I grew up not exposed to any of that. Feeling, perhaps, a touch of racial guilt about slavery having ever happened, and prejudice and segregation ever having happened, but not seeing blacks, or anyone, as anything but fellow humans. The thing is, as such, I'd expect them to act like fellow humans. Get past it, prove yourselves, be the best you can be. The more do that, and the more time passes, the less prejudice there will be even in the hardest core areas. How many generations of nursing should be needed before people of African heritage are part of our society and culture, the way the Irish, Italians, Portuguese, Chinese, Germans, and so forth are? What if it's the nursing that's holding that back as much as it was segregation and maltreatment before? We're not a fine-threaded tapestry, but more of a quilt, with pieces sewn together fittingly, making up one while retain individual character that anyone can see. Seems like every time those pieces get worked into the pattern of the American quilt, people with vested interests in nursing supplies, so to speak, try to rip them out again, fracturing the harmonious pattern that's developing and evident to those who are paying attention.
But what do I know. I'm just an ordinary guy who has always like, or disliked, anybody and everybody on their own merits, vibes, or impressions as individuals.
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Fri Oct 03, 2003
Tiger's 20k and 6 Month Watch
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Those Goofy Quizzes... and Results!
Is it time for an operation and hormones, and I just didn't realize it?
Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti
Via Drumwaster, naturally.
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Just to clarify, Carnival of the Capitalists is a touring carnival, though if we run out of hosts we will start to recycle previous ones.
The first three weeks are definitely covered. We'd welcome more hosts beyond that point, in addition to submissions from anyone who might happen to make a post that's on topic that they'd like to enter. We're thinking first and foremost of bloggers who focus on business and economics topics as the likely hosts, but technically any blog can host it. I suspect many people will hang back and see how it goes the first weeks, getting a better idea what the work, traffic and expectations involved may be. Hosting is likely to mean an Instalanche, or at least a significant bump in traffic and the exposure that gives you.
As Rob noted, for now it's one entry per blog. We'll consider entries of a blog post by someone other than the person who wrote it.
If you are a general blogger, or one with a focus that isn't normally business and economics, but who might sometimes post along those lines or might have readers interested in CotC, you may at some point get an e-mail asking you to announce it and to enter if you have anything appropriate you'd like to show off.
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Under, Over, Scruncher, Folder
Remember a while back I had the toilet paper hanging discussion here, and lots of people commented? Well, it's happening again, over at Jen's, except she is asking how you're hanging as well as whether you fold or scrunch. It's a great TMI question that almost defies belief that it's being discussed, but it's amusing, especially with Jen liberally calling people freaks. Perhaps that's why she's called "freakin Jen"?
How is that for TMI Deb? Even if it is via someone else's blog.
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Where's Courtney Update
Well, so far there have only been six votes cast in the Courtney poll so far. Waht's up with that?!
It's tied at two votes each for Frank secretly holding her as a sex slave and her disdaining us and laughing at our concern.
One vote each for having a secret new blog and being eaten by a hungry Michael Moore.
Any more opinions? Go vote!
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Joan of Arcadia
I just watched Joan of Arcadia and thought it was fantastic. It's on my must see list now.
I loved the "anticlimatic" line. "That's anticlimactic. Anticlimatic means you're against the weather!"
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Speaking of Dating...
Terry points out this article and comments on it, with excerpts. Part of the inspiration for the comments came from George Peppard in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Has masculinity been swept away excessively?
I found this all very interesting, in light of the recent spate of posts on dating and relationships here and here.
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"...visit the mass graves ..."
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This is at least as eloquent as anything I have seen in defense of the war. In part:
But most of all, I want to see the beauty, in every sense, that would result from 400 million minds freed from the most oppressive and freedom-robbing system of religious and political beliefs the world has ever known.
That, more than anything else, is worth a fight. A war.
It's really a wonderful post you should go read now. Mike also has other good stuff.
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Slavery or Employment?
Perhaps this is related to President Bush recently speaking about slavery rampant in the world. Obviously there are other, even clearer examples, but I have to wonder.
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International Threats to Bill of Rights
Eugene Volokh writes on the issue of international treaties potentially eroding constitutional protections in the Bill of Rights, and whether that can be considered, good, bad, or necessary.
Bad. Unnecessary. No treaty can or should ever usurp the constitution. Period.
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Our friends the French indeed! French missiles, made in 2003, found in Iraq.
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Who'd Want to Decide These?
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SEC Off Deep End
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Site Finder and IP
The Trademark Blog also reported on the ICANN demand, and more uniquely on the potential problems of Site Finder with respect to NASA and other marks afforded special IP protection.
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Site Finder Suspended
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Haven't we had this discussion before? Dunkin Donuts versus Krispy Kreme versus Tim Hortons versus, in my region, Honeydew Donuts versus Mom'n'Pop local place.
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The Door Into Business
Then theres the business aspect of The Door Into Summer. Less pronounced than the technology part of it, but it's an interesting look at how things were in Heinlein's day, how he extrapolated from that, and most of all, precautionary elements.
He got screwed out of his company by assigning enough of his stock to his fiance to fall below the majority, only to be fooled and self-deluded into thinking he would always vote it and win any decision. Nothing in writing to enforce that, so when she was colluding with his partner, what a shock.
He signed anything put in front of him in a stack without looking at it. He wasn't there to run the business, but to do engineering. Well, if you're going to be involved in running the business, you need to be sure your position is ironclad, that you can trust the people around you, and that you pay attention.
All of which ultimately led to his doing a thoroughly modern thing in the end. He simply ran a small engineering shop, himself and an assistant, and licensed out his patents. Of course, if he were really modern, he could patent ideas and then make money by suing people who did things using ideas he "owned."
The irony in the book is that he got in trouble by being too trusting, then in the end had to trust near strangers with everything. What if they hadn't been so trustworthy either? Well, wouldn't have been much of a story then.
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The Door Into Future
I mentioned The Door Into Summer in passing a few days ago, for the purpose of poking fun at this guy who hates cats. I meant to go back to it for more meaningful discussions. One has to do with the technology, the time the book was written versus the time it portrayed, and how the predictiveness of it turned out.
The book was written about 1956, as I recall, and it depicted 1970ish and 2000ish respectively. The crux was being screwed out of his own company and inventions, and put in deep freeze, then rectifying the situation and living happily ever after.
Well, the guy was into inventing things, primarily household and other robots or automations. Just as with other early SF, robotics came earlier and easier than the reality, yet small scale computing that it would require came - and is still coming - much later, and was not really depicted as such. Ditto with space travel, yet equipped with giant mechanical computing devices for Libby to show up.
It always makes me wonder what we, right now, are failing to predict or expect, or getting all wrong, generically and in SF.
The whole thing is vague, but highly mechanical, lots of "linkages and such." The only thing at all connected with computing it a concept of memory, in the form of Thorsen Tubes. There is "programming" to be done for each given task an all-purpose household robot might perform (which obviously precludes anything like AI), but there's no indication of what that programming might consist of, except for being lots of work.
Here it is, 2003, yet we still have nothing like Heinlein envisioned for household and other helper robots. We're making progress, but it's a slow thing. I figure robotics will be one of the Next Big Things, whether in a couple years or twenty.
Then there's Drafting Dan. Not sure it was in the blog, but I've written before how it anticipated the explosion of CAD workstations, but not the PC, the software basis for CAD, or non-keyboard input. It was still a clever guess, and even the timing wasn't far off in the scheme of things.
Then there are all the little things. No zippers in 2000? Disposable clothes? No smog? Reduced smog and pollution due to technology and the will to use it, but not an outright elimination, and not in the way he posited. Cold sleep, of course, one of the key plot devices, still not here and might never be. Then again, could be just several years away if it's not impossible without rupturing all our cell membranes or whatever other obstacles exist.
It's always fascinating to read what was expected of the future from the perspective of living in the reality of that future.
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Chris Noble of The Noble Pundit has kindly agreed to host the October 27 edition of Carnival of the Capitalists.
There are a couple of other possible hosts for weeks four and five, but I am waiting for confirmation from them.
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Heh. Grave of the real Xena and her friends has been found. Fascinating.
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Thu Oct 02, 2003
John Doe's Gone Missing
What happened to John Doe?
I had gotten hooked on the show partway through last season, and was just reminded of it tonight when I discovered the season finale on tape. I have seen neither ads for it, nor noticed it in the schedule at tvguide.com. That's a bad sign.
I suppose I ought to check IMDB. Maybe that will give a sign it was not renewed or moved to cable. You should always end with a cliffhangerish episode at the end of a season, then not come back. Or go to cable where not everyone can see it.
Yup, cancelled. In the "Fox won't give Friday shows a chance, or sends the to Friday to kill them in the first place" tradition that we're becoming soooo familiar with. Stupid TV execs.
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Enterprise: What The Heck Happened?!
I watched Enterprise on tape. Impressive! Did they get new writers? Maybe ones who are aware of and perhaps have viewed some episodes of the the original series? What's up with the dramatic improvement?
Yeah, some stuff was hokey and unreal, but hey. Some of the aliens weren't humans with bumpy faces! Some of the aliens had subtitles! There were multiple hostile and background alien species in an episode! There was a cliffhanger! That doesn't even appear to be continued based on the scenes from next week! With an ambiguous ending that was bad for us humans! There were blazing gunfights! Superior weapons in the hands of the aliens! Sexuality was not such a far background element.
Are we to expect things will continue in an improved manner, or was this a fluke? I guess we shall see...
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Election Law Blog has moved off of Blogsplat. It is now at electionlawblog.org.
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Poll: Where's Courtney?
As you may know, Courtney has disappeared as of a month ago. Her last post was September 3rd. Many of us are concerned, naturally.
I decided it was time for a poll on what happened to her! I'm only allowed 10 questions, so I ran out before I could get to "I know what really happened and I won't tall you. Ha ha!" and "None of the above. See comments for my twisted version."
Feel free to use the comments if you have an alternate theory, or firsthand knowledge you will or won't share. Enjoy!
* That is, Andrew of belly-flop.net, another prodigal young blogger who disappeared.
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Iraq Toys Update
Chief Wiggles has a new address for sending toys to Iraq. Anything sent to the old one is fine, but this one will be better. Also there's an address now for sending from Australia.
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The Old Three Finger Salute
Here's a story on the origins of ctrl-alt-delete. I didn't know about the guy in the story, but I knew the reasoning behind the locations and the use of three keys. It would be bad to make rebooting accidentally easy, and in DOS, which is where I started (version 3.3), it meant reboot. None of this task manager stuff.
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I am such an idiot. Obviously I spaced out when I looked at the TV grid for Wednesday. I had mentally placed Smallville at 9:00, opposite West Wing, and Angel at 10:00. Hello! On a station that ends prime time at 10:00 and goes to NEWS? Duh.
So I dutifully set Enterprise to tape at 8:00, got home late because it did't matter if I missed that, started watching Enterprise at 8:30 or so, then during commercials at around 8:40 happened to flip to Smallville.
So I missed 2/3 of the first half of the premier of one of my three favorite, must see shows. Which, of course, turns out not to be on opposite one of the others.
Then at 9:00 I did catch every second of West Wing, while the VCR dutifully taped
Smallville Angel on the other station.
I could have had Smallville on tape even if I was late.
I could have made sure I was home at 8:00 to see it in person.
Anyway, now for talk, which may be spoilerish, like if you didn't watch West Wing yet and don't know Zoey's fate.
Missed all but a few minutes of Enterprise, so can't say anything until I watched the tape. I was there basically for the mad science experiment, in which a container was bombarded with technobabble radiation and stuff until it coulda no' take the pressure any more cap'n and exploded.
West Wing was a good episode, but I hate them. They left us hanging at the end of last year, with Amy bluntly, typical Amy style, asking Donna if she loved Josh. Then everything went up in the air and they didn't get back to that. Sooo... did Donna answer? Did she tell the truth? Did she equivocate? Did she never get to answer because she was saved by the proverbial bell of the kidnapping plot crashing down on the characters? The two of them certainly act more like it than ever. Now they show scenes from next week of Josh kissing Amy. Doh!
I had wondered where Amy was last week. For all I knew, she could have been off the show without explanation. They've established her as someone who doesn't hold any one job long.
Okay, Josh was a lunatic, off the deep end, on the political angle to everything. He made a total ass of himself to his republican counterpart. The republicans were right about how the Prez looked in that scenario, and for being in awe of him.
Donna touched ever so subtly on personnel issues that potentially relate to her expected (by us plot watchers) promotion this year. The theory is that Leo gets VP, Josh gets chief of staff, and Donna becomes Josh or some other better job.
The preview of next week was interesting. I couldn't tell whether it was implying the secretary of state or Leo would get VP.
I really expected Zoey to be dead, but good ending anyway.
Smallville, forgot to speak of that, what little I saw. Intriguing, Jonathan getting temporary powers from Jor-El in order to reign in clark. Since I saw so little of it, I was just getting into it when it cliff-hung. Argh. Lex was having fun on that island, too.
Anyway, at 10:00 I ended up getting sucked into Karen Sisco. Enjoyed it. I may not make a point of watching, but if I choose to be a potato after West Wing, it'll be in front of that rather than Law & Order. She has a toughly enigmatic attractiveness, a cool attitude, and a fantastic relationship and banter with her father. Who also was great, as was her boss. I have to wonder what Jen thought of the show, if she saw it.
Anyway, enough on the topic of TV.
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Wed Oct 01, 2003
Australia and Italy, Oui
Professor Bainbridge reports that table wine sales are up overall, but French wines are still feeling the pinch, and there's a reason that may get worse after a while. Retailers are claiming minimal impact but that is likely sales puffery.
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Music Industry Future
Due Diligence has an intriguing, and rather different, discussion of the future of the music industry and big name stars as a species, primarily in the form of a discussion of points back and forth between two people.
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Nader is up to his silliness again, wanting product placements labeled as advertising. I cannot begin to see the point or express how stupid I perceive that to be.
Also found at Adrants, taglines - or slogans as I might tend to call them - are the latest example of new not automatically being better. Indeed. Stick with what's memorable, known, and working. I had no idea GE had changed slogans, and I will always associate the abandoned one, "we bring good things to life," with GE. I always thought it was a particularly catchy slogan and tune.
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This is an example of a post that could be submitted to Carnival of the Capitalists, from a general blog.
Over on Samizdata, Michael Jennings posts about supermarkets and the productivity paradox, positing that the reason there aren't productivity improvements as good as might be expected through traditional standards of measurement. The productivity comes in variety and quality of offerings, and efficiency of space utilization, rather than lower prices.
This reminds me of Mapchic's recent post on how the expectations created by online shopping might affect what people want from traditional retailers.
Mapchic also had a really cool post that would fit Kevin's sports roundup, on the curse of the goat. But I digress.
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Kevin has announced he will be doing a roundup of sports post links, including ones from general blogs, similar to what we are doing with Carnival of the Capitalists.
I don't "do" sports, but I think that's a superb idea. There are an amazing number of sports posts everywhere, and it only seems to have expanded as fall has hit. Great way to highlight them, for the many folks who are avidly interested.
They will be at SportsBlog on Friday. Kevin will be mining for posts himself, but also invites submissions.
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People Need to Get a Life
In the "what will they think of next" department, I see on the NTBugTraq mailing list today there is discussion of a possible malicious something causing spontaneous changes to DNS server settings. It's happened to enough people that they're investigating.
At the same time, there is something that's modifying or hijacking HOSTS files and possibly registry entries. Someone on NTBugTraq pointed to this discussion, which I found kind of interesting.
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Glenn Reynolds makes an excellent point, in part, on the topic of relying too much on him alone for the news:
Don't do that! It's "InstaPundit," not "InstaNews Service." And this is, as Eugene properly notes, an amateur activity. I don't even get to blog all the stuff that interests me -- I've really fallen behind on space, guns, and even nanotechnology lately-- much less stuff that's important, but that doesn't interest me.
I don't mind simply being dessert.
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Carnival of the Capitalists
BusinessPundit Rob and I are introducing something called Carnival of the Capitalists. It is modeled after the venerable Carnival of the Vanities, and works similarly, but is, as the name implies, specific to posts about business, economics, accounting, marketing, taxes, management, sales, finance, advertising; those sorts of things.
Naturally we expect to see plenty of participation from business and economics bloggers, but anyone with a relevant post is welcome to submit it. Some basic points:
The official publication date of CotC will be Mondays, starting on October 13. We are accepting submissions starting now. We chose Monday to coincide with the business week, and to avoid conflicting with Carnival of the Vanities on Wednesdays. While the official date is Monday, the host may post CotC during the weekend; another reason for the Monday choice.
The first week will be hosted at BusinessPundit, and submissions can be mailed to rob -at- businesspundit.com or capitalists -at-elhide.com, both of which go to him. The second address will be redirected to the current host each week, and may always be used for submissions.
A list of hosts by date, plus other information, will be maintained on this page, which I have linked near the top of the sidebar. People interested in hosting should contact me at jaysolo -at- elhide.com.
Submitted posts should be original writing on a relevant topic, or a post that substantively comments on a linked item. A basic "link post" isn't an appropriate entry. Our goal is to be read not merely by bloggers, but by non-bloggers, including people in the mainstream business-related press. Think of it as a way to bring extra attention to your thoughts and ideas, in a dynamic going beyond the blogosphere.
If you're familiar with Carnival of the Vanities, you understand how this works. It's just more focused. I encourage you to look at this page, which has a complete (I think) set of "not yet asked questions." Hey, they weren't "frequently asked," since this is new. Plus NYAQ sounds cool. Pronounce it a few times fast and you might sound like a Stooge. Feel free to fire away with any questions I might have missed.
Rob's excelllent post announcing this is up here.
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Interview With The Speculist
I found this post from The Speculist to be particularly interesting. Basically, it's the blogger answering a series of interview questions. One of them is just the sort of thing I like to get people thinking about: "If you could go back in time to change a single act that would have the greatest effect on today’s world, what would it be, and how would you go about changing it?"
He talks generally about the problem presented in the question, and a particular book that holds one scenario, then goes on to say:
I would prevent that Serb separatist from assassinating Archduke Ferdinand. All the horrors of the twentieth century originated with that act. There’s no guarantee that World War I wouldn’t have started shortly thereafter anyway, but it’s the only single act I can think of that might have prevented it. Let’s suppose for a moment that it truly never did happen. If World War I never happened, maybe the communists would not have achieved the upper hand in the Russian Revolution. Millions of lives lost under Stalin would be saved, hundreds of millions of individuals around the world would be spared the degradation and brutality of life in a totalitarian regime. With no World War I, there would have been no Treaty of Versailles, no humiliated Germany, no climate in which Hitler could come to power. Tens of millions more lives would be spared, both the casualties of World War II and the victims of Hitler’s genocide. Without the Ottoman Empire taking the "wrong" side in World War I, there would have been no post-war divvying up of the Middle East. It’s hard to say how things would look there now (particularly the Arab world), but it is just possible that politicized Islamic Fundamentalism and pan- Arab nationalism might never have taken off.
You know, I don't know as that one thing would have occurred to me! It makes a lot of sense as the fulcrum point of the twentieth century. As he notes, other horrors might have happened instead, but it certainly would be worth a try.
There's other good stuff too, about the near future of technology and so forth.
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Gilmore and Other TV
Before I forget, I want to post about Gilmore Girls. I've been working on a project. Now it's time for a break. Sleep might not hurt either!
I saw all but the first 15 minutes of Gilmore Girls tonight. I came in as Rory was in line, a moment before her ID picture was taken. I thought it was pretty good.
The "Doogie" character could be interesting.
The "life coach" thing is just bizarre. He resembles the guy who lives in the cellar apartment of my building.
If Luke and Lorelei were any more obviously in love, it would have to be rescripted and moved to late night cable.
The lawyers were a hoot! Totally over the top in a funny way.
Can't Lorelei just stuff the mattress in her own garage? Or in Rory's room? Spare room? Cellar? Hello!? Why should Luke store it?
Maybe I've only ever seen dorms in the wrong colleges but are they for real? Giant suites like that? For freshmen? I think Rory's room was bigger than the dorm rooms where I went (I commuted), never mind the spacious suite arrangement, big enough for a party. And a bathroom shared only between the suite-mates? Not one out in the hall shared by a floor of the dorm, or a section of the floor? Amazing. Is that why these schools are so expensive, or is this completely made up for TV-land?
I didn't expect the "come back!!!!" part, but it was classic cool mom Lorelei. Just one of the girls. The ending was sad. They'll obviously head somewhere with that; needing more for her to do with the house empty.
Now comes Wednesday. Conflict day! Smallville and West Wing opposite each other.
Speaking of both West Wing and conflicts, gotta love these TV people. On Saturday nights there is nothing at all on until 11:30. Then we have Hot Ticket on opposite Ebert & Roeper. I prefer Hot Ticket, but I surf between them to try to catch what both are saying overall. Then there's some other show on then, which used to sometimes be quite good.
So then at midnight or a bit after, since the schedules always seem to skew on Saturday night, I was in the habit - if I remembered - of watching The Outer Limits, which is reliably excellent in my experience and opinion. So what did they do? The ABC station, channel 5, now shows the first season of West Wing at the same time! I never saw the first season and was kind of waiting for this. Augh! They have to conflict on Saturday night at midnight? What's up with that!
So I was flipping back and forth, mainly staying on Outer Limits because it was better. They definitely hadn't hit their stride yet with the episode I saw. The most interesting thing was seeing Moira Kelly in it. She was there the first season then just disappeared with no plot explanation, from what I understand.
Watching her, and the character, in just minutes I could see how she might not fit.
If you've seen The Cutting Edge, where she is "always becoming the big B," then you'll know what I mean. It was as if Kate Mosely got slightly older, left skating, went and got into Washington politics for a career instead, but basically had not changed at all. Impression only from a few minutes of airtime, of course.
Oh well. I think I will tape Smallville and watch West Wing. If they are still playing Smallville a second time on Sundays, that's the safer one to risk a problem recording. One is a premier. The other might as well be, since it's still unfinished from the premier and the events of the season finale. I assume this week we will learn that Zoey is dead. Or not.
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