God challenged by Government

February 26, 2004 at 9:43 pm | Posted in Humor (G- and R- rated) | Leave a comment

After trying to take on Lucifer himself, the US Government has decided to take on an easier target. In a preliminary decision, the DOJ is trying to prevent an Oracle-Peoplesoft merger. God (aka Oracle CEO Larry Ellison) said that He will not take no for an answer.

Free iPod Mini

February 25, 2004 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Macintosh | 6 Comments

Apple appears to be getting a great discount on the hard drive in the iPod Mini. The hard drive is a 4Gb Compact Flash Microdrive that sells for about $600 retail. Instructions at dpreview.com show how to extract the 4Gb drive and replace it with a smaller drive. Therefore, one can spend $400 ($250 for the iPod mini and $150 for a 1GB Microdrive) and get back $600 from selling the 4GB Microdrive

Profit!

Leader of the Free World

February 24, 2004 at 10:32 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

The past few days have been quite eventful. Let’s recap for those in the United States where these events are under-reported:

  • President Putin of Russia fires his entire cabinet two weeks before an election, which may signal a return of an aggressive Russian foreign policy to challenge American world dominance.
  • Saudi Arabian oil ministers are finally admitting what the world does not want to hear – that Saudi Arabia’s oil-producing capacity may be in decline. This will only ensure high oil prices and increasing geopolitical competition for scarce resources.
  • CIA Director George Tenet says that Al-Qaeda is still capable of carrying out large-scale terrorist attacks – although the organization has been weakened, it’s ideology has spread since 9/11.
  • More and more countries have banned US poultry products in response to avian flu infestations, in addition to the existing bans on US beef late last year.
  • Haiti is falling apart, which may trigger a wave of refugees that may overwhelm Coast Guard efforts to keep them out of American soil, while preventing them from dying at sea.
  • Half of American teenagers will eventually contract a sexually transmitted disease, despite all sorts of sex education, including total abstinence.

So, what does our President Bush decide to do? That’s right, spend the day’s news spin promoting an amendment to ban gay marriage. I believe that the Constitution is better at telling the government what not to do rather than telling the people what they can’t do; this proposed amendment shows that the Republican efforts at social engineering are just as bad, if not worse than, those of the Democrats.

Statesmanship is required from the leader of the Free World, and Tony Blair is doing a better job of it.

Slammed by MyDoom

February 24, 2004 at 6:35 pm | Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

It looks like the latest variant (F) of the MyDoom virus has hit my workplace. One of our shared drives was wiped out and lots of people were hurriedly disconnecting from the offending server to avoid getting infected. It seems that although most computers were protected from the mass-mailing effects of the virus, this variant is more destructive and deleted many files. When I asked our local server guru what the recovery plan was, he quipped that IT was “writing it up as we speak”. Today’s productivity-destroying incident is not only a indictment of Microsoft’s horrible operating system design decisions, but our corporate IT’s sheer ineptitude and incompetence in dealing with a virus that was identified five days ago and for which patches were available.
Continue Reading Slammed by MyDoom…

Job creation numbers

February 18, 2004 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Politics | Comments Off on Job creation numbers

It looks like the Administration is backing away from the rosy scenario of 2.6 million new jobs being created this year. The next thing you know is that Bush will start counting volunteers to make their 2.6 million jobs numbers. Crossing guards, candy stripers, Skid Row food servers, and yes, maybe even John Kerry campaign volunteers. A thousand points of lights – yeah right.Their new definition of “job” doesn’t require that you actually have an income.That’s worse than figuring out what “is” is.

Update: February 22, 2004

I didn’t realize that my prediction above has actually happened in a slightly different manner. This article describes White House comments about reclassifying fast-food jobs as manufacturing. After all, does the integration of meat, cheese, bread, and secret sauce add such value to the product that it can be considered a new product? Even McDonalds doesn’t think so. Just another example of how the government doesn’t realize that manufacturing jobs are so much more important to this country and should be considered more valuable than service jobs.

If you take this kind of reasoning to it’s insane end, then I predict that sex itself will be considered a manufacturing job. That will easily create 2.6 million jobs this week.

Costco vs. WalMart

February 16, 2004 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Rants | Leave a comment

I usually don’t buy stuff at Costco (except for their $1.50 hot dogs), since I don’t need or want to buy in bulk, but James Flanagan’s article (registration required) in the LA Times shows that compared to Walmart, they do value their employees enough to try to keep their turnover low. We are truly in a sad state when Wall Street punishes CEOs trying to keep both shareholders and employees happy. One thing’s for sure though – I’d be buying a Costco membership before I ever set foot inside a Walmart.

Excerpts in extended…
Continue Reading Costco vs. WalMart…

Safari Compatibility

February 12, 2004 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Macintosh | Leave a comment

My credit card company recently switched to CheckFree for online bill paying. As you can guess, my favorite browser (Phoenix aka Firebird aka Firefox) is not supported. I suggest to CheckFree that they get with the program and support modern browsers instead of that crap they call MSIE. Anyways, back to my dilemma – I fired up Apple’s Safari, turned on the debug menu, switched my User Agent to “Windows MSIE 6.0” and was able to successfully pay my bills. The debug menu trick is well known, but here’s a cool feature that Apple added — when you quit and restart Safari, the User Agent reverts back to Safari. This is good news since it allows us to switch to MSIE mode to fool Windows-only sites, but when we quit and restart, we go back to our default User Agent, which will let websites know of the growing numbers of Safari users out there. Good programming by Apple to improve Safari support. I wonder if the User Agent reverts back to Safari after being idle for a few minutes or when going to sleep?

US Paper Currency

February 11, 2004 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Fun Indoors | Leave a comment

Today’s lunchtime discussion was the degree of centralization of paper money (currency) in 19th Century America. I claimed that there was little if any centralization, and that local- and state-level banks printed and stood behind their own currency, with very little federal government controls. Mike claims the opposite, that the Bank of the United States (the precursor to the Federal Reserve) had significant power to normalize currency (and therefore prices) throughout the country. Well, as this article shows, I was right. Looking back, it had to be decentralized, since the federal government was not very strong until it was required to be strong during the Civil War.

Bill O’Reilly Eats Crow

February 10, 2004 at 8:58 pm | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

Conservative talking head Bill O’Reilly has finally admitted that he may have trusted the administration a little too much regarding the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. All I can say is that the ridicule awaiting O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh is nothing compared to the hell they deserve in the afterlife. They have misled their viewers, refused to think critically about the issues facing the country, and have blindly supported an unjust war that has killed over 500 Americans with no end in sight.

In other news, OPEC today decided to raise oil prices by reducing demand supply. The US government was “surprised” at this development. Hello? McFly? Is there a light on in Bush’s brain? When the dollar drops in value 25%, did they even think that other countries would need to get more dollars to continue paying for things they buy from us? Remember, Global Free Trade Economics 101 affects everyone, not just one country.

[Edited 2004-02-12 20:24 PDT]

Tibetian Orthography

February 8, 2004 at 9:15 pm | Posted in Fun Indoors | Leave a comment

This interesting discussion over at Kuro5shin shows the depth of knowledge and culture some geeks posses. One would never think that a subject like Tibetian Orthography would not only be on a geek-oriented site like Kuro5hin, but that a spirited discussion would ensue. It’s quite a fascinating subject, although as a 35+ year old male, I don’t think I could learn the complexities of non-alphabetic languages like Tibetian. A working knowledge of English and Spanish is more than can be expected from an American, though I would be considered insufficiently educated in parts of Europe.

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