Bill McGowan vs. AT&T

August 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Posted in People, Rants | Leave a comment

This article from Ars Technica came down my Twitter feed and I found it a refreshing change of pace from an otherwise techie site. It describes the story of MCI Communications and their fight against the AT&T long distance monopoly. AT&T divested itself in 1984 and allowed competition in the long-distance telephone market, but today, we see a new, reconstituted AT&T attempt to corner the market in wireless and internet services. The situation isn’t as bad as it was then (today’s AT&T is not as powerful as the old “Ma Bell”), but it does give us a lesson on why we can’t afford to be complacent dealing with corporations.

I found the concluding paragraph (slightly rewritten below) to be inspiring, and so relevant with regards to attempts at changing my career path. Some of the people at my previous job whom I thought were friends were actually interested in just making themselves look good at your expense. Looking back, I found that many of the conversations I had with them were  themselves trying to look and sound good, to push their prejudices, and not really concerned with nor listening to what you were saying to them. I’m glad to have put some emotional and physical distance from them.

“You have to have stamina – otherwise you give up – you get turned.  You listen to people tell you things where, if you follow their advice, you won’t do it. What you are listening to are those people’s ideas about what they can do, not your ideas about what you can do.”

 

Oil cleaned from animals must be returned to BP

June 6, 2010 at 7:04 am | Posted in Politics, Rants | Leave a comment
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Panic Grips Amazon.com

January 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Macintosh, Rants, Technology | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

Amazon.com is in full-on panic mode as the anticipated announcement of the Apple JesusTablet draws near. First, they reduced the royalty split from 70/30 in Amazon’s favor to 70/30 in the publishers favor. Then they announce a beta version of a Kindle Development Environment to get third party applications. Finally, they announce a money-back guarantee for selected Kindle customers, as long as they buy their Kindle by January 26th.

These developments wouldn’t be bad if they were spread out over months and or announced earlier in the Kindle’s life in response to customer complaints, but the timing and spacing of these events indicates that Amazon is greatly worried about their ability to compete with an unannounced Apple product, and rightfully so – their pricing and the fiasco over copies of Orwell’s “1984” deleted from their customers Kindles has earned them the distrust of many users, including myself.

Sorry Amazon, I’ll be waiting until January 27th to decide if I want an ebook reader.

Solaris WTF

November 16, 2009 at 10:37 am | Posted in Rants | Leave a comment

Last login: Fri Nov 13 15:47:44 2009 from XXXXXXXXX
Sun Microsystems Inc.   SunOS 5.10      Generic January 2005
You have mail.
sun3 [51]: mail
No mail.
sun3 [52]:

Rob Enderle’s Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome

July 23, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Posted in Macintosh, Rants | Leave a comment

Hours before Microsoft announced a year-over-year earnings drop of over one billion dollars accompanied by a 30% drop in revenues, Microsoft shill and Apple hater Rob Enderle predicted the following:

“I’m expecting some really good news in terms of outlook for [Microsoft]” 

Seriously, who pays this clown’s salary? The guy is a disgrace to his profession.

NO to Amazon Kindle

July 17, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Rants, Technology | Leave a comment

A few days ago, I was seriously considering buying an Amazon Kindle since the price went from $359 to $299. However, this morning, I saw what DRM can do – hundreds of people who bought books by George Orwell found that Amazon had deleted their books and refunded the purchase price. So much for the idea of the Kindle being the electronic equivalent of a book. It is all the more ironic given the books in question.

Note the weasel words in the above article – Amazon says they are “changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances“.

Amazon, you just lost a sale. I will never buy anything with DRM from you again, unless you “change your system to that in the future you will not remove books from customer’s devices under any circumstances“.

Corruption vs. Incompetence

July 4, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Politics, Rants | Leave a comment

The essence of the red-blue divide is that Republicans are much more forgiving of corruption, while Democrats are much more forgiving of incompetence. A smaller government usually results in more corruption, lacking the mechanisms and inefficiencies from big government. Big government usually results in the other extreme – incompetence – as seen by the problems facing California; however, there should be a system of checks and balances to ensure that the public are not cheated. Case in point are the recent scandals behind the two Republican governors Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin.

Financial shenanigans were used to cover up the former’s adultery, while the latter’s resignation is due to scandals related to the construction industry. The Palin scandal was noted as early as last October but was not pursued by the media due to GOP pressure. Alaska is a very Republican state with small government, and that has resulted in the state being run in ways that would make the Mafia blush.

Leo Loses It

June 7, 2009 at 11:14 am | Posted in Humor (G- and R- rated), Rants, Technology | Leave a comment

Proof that Mike Arrington is a total first-class thin-skinned asshole who loves to pour gasoline on fires. He offers nothing constructive to the tech community except snide remarks who can’t even take valid criticism on his own website. You can hear Leo Laporte drop an F-bomb at 0:58:

Las Vegas Review

March 30, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Posted in Fun Indoors, Rants | Leave a comment

It’s been at least 7 years since I’ve been to Las Vegas, and it was a place of contrasts. The hotels were full, the casino was busy, and the streets were gridlocked – you’d think that we weren’t in a recession, but the acres and acres of empty houses south of the airport tell a different story, along with illegal aliens handing out adult calling cards to people of all ages on The Strip.

What bothered me about the growth of Las Vegas was how much public good was sacrificed for the sake of the corporate casinos. Even though the insides of the casinos / resorts are nice, trying to travel between them, or even getting around town convinced me that this city is unliveable. Public transportation is pathetic, traffic is terrible, pedestrian traffic is difficult, riding a bicycle around town would be suicidal, and the monorail is a classic case of special interest politics – it does not go to the airport nor is it located within a reasonable distance from most hotels. This city cannot complete in future of high fuel and water prices, low home prices, and even lower disposable income.

On the positive side, I got to see one of the last showings of the Folies Bergere; it closed last weekend after a 49-year run. I have never been to a Las Vegas show until last week, and it was a nice experience to see a classic show featuring showgirls and vaudeville acts. Still, I don’t think I will be going back anytime soon.

Folies Bergere

The True Cost of Cell Phones

March 8, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Rants, Technology | Leave a comment

This LA Times article mentions a study showing that most cell phone users do not use most of their monthly minutes and pay as much as $1 to $3 per minute. Even in this economy, people will continue to pay for too many minutes they will never use. This is due to the cell phone providers charging outrageous fees for going over your monthly minutes (even though their marginal cost for overuse is close to zero), and not giving enough information or in-store exposure about their prepaid or pay-as-you-go plans. Who can blame them when their customers are sheep wanting and willing to be fleeced?

With a good prepaid plan like the one I have with T-Mobile, you always know how much each minute costs and how much you will pay every month. My average monthly cost for the past three years is about $8 a month, and the maximum I’ve paid for a single month was $17. All cell phone users should evaluate their usage once or twice a year and change their plans as needed.

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