Friday, October 28, 2011

The difference between gunnies and non-gunnies

ASM826 has a post about a gunnie wanting a wheelgun

The line that jumped out at me was this one:
My non shooty friends said "you could get a huge, new TV for that cost!" 
I often make a similar comparison, but the other direction. For instance, I'm currently pricing new tires for the van, and  my first thought on seeing the projected total was "I could buy a new gun for that cost!"

I guess it's all about priorities.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm mad too, but for a different reason

JayG goes off on the biased coverage from CNN.

I agree with him mostly, but I'm just as frustrated with Perry.

If we knocked Obama for not having a plan, then shouldn't we be as up in arms at Perry, or Cain, or any other candidate that doesn't have their ideas fleshed out. This is not something you make up as you go along. Even though I don't agree with a lot of it, at least Romney has a plan out there, and has given it thought, and has had a chance to tweak it (whether or not it's what he'll actually do once he's in office is another question entirely).

But for Perry to say "I've only been working on it for 8 weeks" is flabbergasting. How long have you been Governor? I'm sure you've thought about running for President for quite a while. It would be nice if you'd fleshed out your policy positions a bit more during that time.

Gov. Moonbeam sees the light

From an AP article over at Yahoo! Finance:
Gov. Jerry Brown will propose sweeping rollbacks to public employee pension benefits in California, including raising the retirement age to 67 for new employees who are not public safety workers and requiring state and local employees to pay more toward their retirement and health care, according to a draft of the plan obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Color me shocked, but it definitely provides some vindication for the Scott Walkers and John Kasichs of the world.

Outlook Express can compact messages

Every time I reboot my work laptop, I get a message stating "To free up disk space, Outlook Express can compact messages." That's an interesting trick, because I don't even have OE installed on this machine.

At first I assumed it was something in the Run key of the registry, but a quick perusal of the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run key didn't show anything related to Microsoft Office, Outlook, or Outlook Express. I ran msconfig.exe and checked everything it said was loaded. No joy there either.

Finally, I turned to a Google search, and turned up this thread.

Basically, here's what's going on. When you install Windows Search, it has some default locations that it will index. Those include your "My Documents" folder, Outlook if you have it installed, and Outlook Express (apparently, even if it's NOT installed). But how does Windows Search indexing a non-existent installation of Outlook Express trigger a prompt to compact messages?

Well, each time OE starts or is accessed, it increments a counter that is stored in the registry. Once this counter goes above 100, it prompts the user to compact messages at the next reboot. If the user selects "Yes", the counter is reset. If they don't, it's not, and you get nagged each time.

So, the fix is a two-step process. First, we have to tell Windows Search to stop indexing Outlook Express. To do that, look in your System Tray (the spot at the right edge of your task bar with all those funny icons, next to the clock). There should be a magnifying glass icon down there (you might have to expand your systray to show hidden icons). Right-click on the magnifying glass, and then select Windows Search Options. In the Indexing Options dialog that comes up, you will most likely see two or three entries under "Included Locations". One of these will say something like "Microsoft Outlook Express: Main Identity". That's the culprit. Click the "Modify" button, and in the next dialog box, uncheck "Microsoft Outlook Express" and then click OK. Click "Close" to exit "Indexing Options".

Now, Windows Search will stop accessing Outlook Express, which will stop incrementing that counter. However, you will still get the "compact messages" prompt the next time you reboot. There are two ways to make the message go away. First, just click "Yes" the next time it comes up. Since you're not using Outlook Express, it won't have anything to do, but it will reset the counter back to zero. Alternatively, you can edit the registry entry yourself to reset the counter1. To reset the counter yourself, run 'regedit' and then go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities key. Under there, you should see one entry that is called a GUID. It's a big long scary looking alpha-numeric value in between curly braces ({}). There should only be one entry under there. Expand that, and then drill down into Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0. In the 5.0 folder, you should see a key that says "Compact Check Count". Reset this to '0' (zero) and you're all done.

The next time you reboot, you shouldn't get that annoying message.

1Normal disclaimers apply. Intended for advanced users only. Back up your registry first. If you screw up your computer it's not my fault. If you're not comfortable doing it, take it to a professional.

P.S. - I'm still trying to figure out why the system does the Outlook Express Compact check if OE is not installed. My guess is that some Office service pack did a stealth or partial install of OE, because OE is nowhere to be found in my "Add/Remove Programs" dialog.

Quit stats

One year, four months, three weeks, and one day. 10186 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,037.35. Life saved: 5 weeks, 8 hours, 50 minutes, according to SilkQuit

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

QOTD - Top Shot Edition

 Obviously, since Dustin was sent to elimination, there were some misjudgments about skills.


Yeah, I think that about sums it up.

Have car, will travel

Frank Bruni pens an article about the evils of state reciprocity:
Between deciding whether I should wear my sports coat or pack it, if I should go to the local airport or the one an hour away with cheaper fares, and trying to remember if I'd armed the alarm system, I thought I had this business travel thing down pat.
Well, not quite!!! Things could be much worse, especially if I had a vehicle operator's permit in my state, but wanted to drive around in some other state as well.
You see, my state merely requires that I pay a licensing fee and subject myself to the ignomity of proving I'm a resident. They might also require that I've never been convicted of felonious vehicular man slaughter.
Some states are tougher. They have different requirements regarding visual acuity, age, response times and recurring training required for the proper operation of a motor vehicle. Yeah, the rules are different in different states.
Thank the Good Lord Above for the Conveyance Association of Roamers, keeping a keen eye out for any Machiavellian institutions that might try to curtail the free travel rights of Americans.
The C.A.R is pushing a statute, the Diverse Roamers In Vehicles Extolling Reciprocity Act of this year, that would amelioriate the itinerant wanderer's concerns. Should Congress see fit to pass this bill, any state that allows a citizen to move from one place to another, regardless of the certification requirements, would be obligated to allow the citizen of another state to do the EXACT SAME THING, no matter the other state's rules.
Spike T. Wheel, C.A.R.'s chief spokesperson, recently said that the current legal environment "presents a nightmare for interstate travel, as many Americans are subjected to state laws that ignore the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution."
Nightmare? That could plausibly apply better to C.A.R, though it's not the first adjective I think of when considering their current agenda.
Contradiction, hypocrisy: those words rush in ahead. The bill thus far has more than 872 Republican co-sponsors in the House, many of them conservatives who otherwise complain about attempts by an overbearing federal government to trample on states’ rights in the realms of health care, tort reform, education — you name it. But to promote interstate travel, they’re encouraging big, bad Washington to trample to its heart’s content.
Imagine how apoplectic they’d be if, on certain other matters, Washington forced their states to yield to others’ values the way this bill, the D.R.I.V.E.R. act, would compel Oklahoma, North Dakota and Florida to honor more vehicle operator regulations from the South and West. As it happens these three states all allow 6-wheeled vehicles, which more conservative states do not have to recognize.
It’s not fair to talk only about Republicans. D.R.I.V.E.R has dozens of Democratic co-sponsors as well, and when Democrats controlled Congress for the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, they made no major progress on vehicle control. Reluctant to cross C.A.R., they let it slide.
In 2009, when Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, was about to enter a tough re-election battle in Nevada, he actually voted in favor of legislation highly similar to D.R.I.V.E.R. It was defeated. That same year President Obama signed a law permitting vehicles in national parks.
The story on the state level has been just as sad over the last few years. Wisconsin recently approved expanded vehicle operator legislation, leaving Illinois the only state in which certain people can’t drive a car. Several states have enacted laws spelling out that cars can in many circumstances be driven to bars.
One was Tennessee, where a state lawmaker who sponsored the legislation, Curry Todd, sometimes drives a vehicle. I know this because he was drving it when Nashville cops pulled him over two weeks ago for drunken driving. They also charged him with operating a vehicle in public while intoxicated. At least that’s still illegal.
New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and several other states don’t have reciprocity arrangements that allow someone like Todd to drive a vehicle in their state. That’s because New York officials can deny vehicle operator licenses on a case-by-case basis, whereas many other states — South Dakota, for example — don’t put much stock in such scrutiny.
The D.R.I.V.E.R Act, now in the House Judiciary Committee, makes a mockery of our diverse values and strategies for public safety. If it were enacted, off to New York the South Dakotan tourist could go, Mazda RX-7 churning along..
That’s not liberty. More like lunacy.
Oh, wait. He got confused on his deodands. 

Lunchtime workout for 2011-10-26

I just walked 3.2 mi in 1 hour and burned 362 calories. Total burned so far: 725 calories! on 10/26/11 at 12:07 PM #cardiotrainer

PETA files another lawsuit

But this one is a little different.

They are accusing SeaWorld of violating the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (the prohibition against slavery) based on their treatment of 5 killer whales.

I sincerely hope that the case is dismissed with prejudice on pre-trial summary judgement, and that PETA is smacked with punitive damages. They are clogging the court system on something that is no more than a publicity stunt. It wastes time and money, on the parts of the government, SeaWorld and PETA themselves.

PETA can waste all the money in the world they want purchasing billboards.  It's their money. I might not agree with the message, or the tone deaf approach, but hey, there's that whole 1st Amendment thing, and last I checked, PETA is compromised of actual humans.

This, however, is a travesty, and a sham.

What's next, suing farmers for slavery of produce?

If you were in need of gift ideas

There is a new Pratchett book coming out

As you sow so shall you reap

Yesterday, I pointed to a discussion Rod Dreher had with his son about Herman Cain. In a later comment, Rod  agrees with his son and says further that "this idea that somebody who has never run even for school board is a perfectly fit candidate to run the most powerful country on earth is democratic-Romantic nonsense."

Then, today Rod talks about satisfaction with Congress, and what issues are most important to the electorate. He identifies that "It's the economy, stupid." I wholeheartedly agree with that conclusion. But then, he concludes with this little gem (emphasis mine):
And yet, and yet. I never know what to make of polls like this. Everybody hates Congress, and the picture of the electorate this poll paints is about two tics away from being pre-revolutionary. But you know what? A lot of these guys are going to be sent right back by the voters, and if not, they’re going to send in someone who is going to defend the status quo. People are angry and frustrated, but that doesn’t translate into much at the ballot box. Meh.
 So, which is it Mr. Dreher? Do you want someone that has been captured by the system, that has "political experience", or are they the root cause of the problem?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ignore them, and they will go away

Apparently, the members of Westboro are picketing a school in the Cincinnati area today.

I think the principal's take on this is exactly right:
“While we appreciate and understand the anger, disgust and curiosity of our community members, showing up at Oak Hills High School will only provide the WBC exactly what they want. In fact, WBC returns over and over again to those locations that generate the most resistance. If we have a large group of people show up to counterdemonstrate, we will be inviting WBC back to our community for future pickets. The only way to make this a ‘one time and done’ event is to make sure it is not profitable for them in either attention or money.”

Lunchtime workout for 2011-10-25

According to my Cardio Trainer app on my phone, I just walked 2.9 mi in 1 hour 2 mins and burned 330 calories. Total burned so far: 329 calories! on 10/25/11 at 12:08 PM


Becoming less of a man

199

That's what the scale read this morning. I've been stuck between 195 and 199 for months now, and I'm getting frustrated.

I realized my activity level has decreased a bit during this period. I stopped getting off the bus early to walk several blocks, and instead rode it right up to the building. I stopped walking in the evenings, opting instead to occupy my couch while stuffing snacks in my face.

So, I have a pretty good idea as to the root causes of my stasis, and I'm once again trying to get serious about seeing the numbers on the scale decrease.

I got off the bus at the first stop this morning, and walked the ~4 blocks to the building.

Last night, I did two laps around my subdivision, which is ~1.5 miles (ran the 1st, walked the 2nd).

Weather permitting, I'm going to start walking at lunch.

I don't think I'll ever again see the 135 I weighed right out of high school, but if I could get back down to the 160 - 170 range, I'll call that good.

The only surprise is it took this long

Google Buzz is officially on the chopping block

It's a product that never really saw any decent adoption, and it's been made obsolete by Google Plus.

My only request would be that they take some of the integrations they had with Buzz (like Blogger automatically cross-posting to your Buzz feed) and add them to G+.

QOTD - "The political ruling class has won" edition

Rod Dreher recounts a conversation he had with his son last night.

The take-away quote for me?
“No, seriously. You’re telling me this guy has never been elected to anything — and he wants to be president?”
I wonder what he would think of someone like Cincinnatus.

Monday, October 24, 2011

You Might Be An ER Physician/Nurse If...

I'm wondering how many of these Dr. J, Ambulance Driver, or TOTWTYTR empathize with:

  1. You believe 90% of people are a poor excuse for protoplasm.
  2. Discussing dismemberment over a gourmet meal seems perfectly normal to you.
  3. You believe a good tape job will fix anything.
  4. You have the bladder capacity of five normal people.
  5. You can identify the positive teeth-to-tattoo ratio.
  6. Your idea of a good time is a full arrest at shift change.
  7. You find humor in other people's stupidity.
  8. You believe in aerial spraying of Prozac.
  9. You disbelieve 90% of what you are told and 75% of what you see.
  10. You have your weekends off planned a year in advance.
  11. Your idea of comforting a child is to place them in a papoose restraint.
  12. You encourage an obnoxious patient to sign out Against Medical Advice so you don't have to deal with them any longer.
  13. You believe that "Shallow Gene Pool" should be a diagnosis.
  14. You believe the government should require a permit to reproduce.
  15. You plan your dinner while performing gastric lavage.
  16. You believe that "Ask-A-Nurse" is an evil plot thought up by Satan.
  17. You believe that unspeakable evil will befall you if the phrase "Wow, it's really quiet" is uttered.
  18. You refer to Friday as "Dump Day".
  19. Your diet consists of food that has undergone more processing than most computers.
  20. You believe chocolate is a food group.
  21. You take it as a compliment when someone calls you a bastard.
  22. You compliment complete strangers out in public on their "good veins".
  23. You have ever referred to someone's death as a transfer to the "Eternal Care Unit".
  24. You don't think a referral to Dr. Kevorkian is inappropriate.
  25. You have ever referred to someones death as a "Celestial Discharge".
  26. You have ever answered a "lost condom" phone call (See "Ask-A-Nurse" above.)
  27. You refer to someone in respiratory distress as a "Smurf".
  28. Your idea of a really good time is Duelling Shock Rooms.
  29. You have ever wanted to hold a seminar entitled "Suicide: Getting it right."
  30. You believe that "Too Stupid to Live" should be a diagnosis.
  31. You have ever had to leave a patient's room before you began laughing uncontrollably.
(h/t to a friend from Dallas)

The lost art of opening doors

As the bus rolled into downtown this morning, one of the riders noticed that it had started raining. This set off a flurry of bag-searching, moaning and wailing as people that forgot to check the weather forecast realized they didn't have an umbrella to hand.

One of these was a lady sitting across from me, a casual stranger that I frequently see on the bus. We both work in the same building, and used to see each other on smoke breaks occasionally. She remarked that at least she didn't have far to run, because our stop was only 1/2 block from our building.

As I stepped off the bus at our stop, I shook out my umbrella and opened it. I then stood there waiting for her to debark, and held it up for her to stand under. She just stopped and looked at me like I was crazy, and then said "You don't have to do that." We walked the half-block to our building, and as I was putting away my umbrella she thanked me profusely.

What has the world come to when a gesture of common courtesy is no longer common place but instead has become as rare as hen's teeth? I am one of the few that I've seen at our office building that will hold doors, or help someone carry a package, or pick up a stray piece of trash. I think it is a sad commentary on our society that actions like this are treated as suspect. You are a misogynist, or have an ulterior motive, or a persecution complex, or something. It can't be that you're just being nice.

And we wonder why political discourse has devolved to the extent it has. There is no longer a middle ground; everything is black and white. You are for us or against us, and even if you agree with 99% of The Agenda®, that 1% where you differ will cause you to be ostracized.

Our system is broken. Or, better, the people that run the system are broken.

And I wonder if it's all because nobody holds open a door.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Film Review - Courageous

The Mrs. and I had a way-too-rare date night this past Friday, and we went to see the new movie Courageous. This movie is from the same group that did Fireproof. The general framework of the story is a group of Sheriff's  deputies that struggle with personal and work hardships and their faith.

It could be legitimately characterized as a sermon wrapped up in a so-so plot. To be fair, it was almost exactly what I expected. The story telling and acting were better this time around than they were in Fireproof. The cinematography was better as well, but still week. You can tell the Kendrick's are coming into their own, but are working with a smaller budget than the big movie houses.

I do like the subtle "twist" in the story line. By this, I mean that for me, my first impression (I didn't read the advertising slug for the movie, just heard radio spots) was that it would be about guys who exhibited courage in their careers. Knowing who was involved in the film, I should have realized that was a simplistic view. Instead, the movie takes guys in a demanding job, on where everyday courage would be expected, and then counters that by looking at what God's definition of courageous might be.

Is it more courageous to apprehend criminals, or to stand up for your family? What kind of courage does it take to make a stand and say "I will do what's right, regardless"? What sort of courage is required to say "No" to your kids now, so that you can "Yes" to them later?

Those are all questions this film attempts to answer.

All in all, I think it does a good job. Will the mainstream movie industry accept this film? Most likely not. On IMDB, it's receiving a little over a 6/10 rating, which is better than I thought it would have. This film is intended for a very specific audience, and in that regard it achieves what it sets out to do. In our theater, it seemed quite well received (there was a round of applause at the conclusion).

I can see this film being used as an outreach or challenge opportunity by churches, and not just a date night flick couples.

If Christian-centric morality plays don't turn you off, I can highly recommend this movie.

Overheard in the office

So, apparently a co-worker needed a different option for bus routes, because the one they were using just wasn't working out. Doing their due diligence, they researched all of the routes that had stops near their home, focusing exclusively on the "express" routes, instead of the "local" routes.

I overheard the following "rant" this morning:
So I was checking out the 2X, because it's supposed to be an "express", but it takes forever to get downtown. It picks up in my area, goes all the way out to the airport, and then heads downtown. Then on the way back, it leaves downtown, goes all the way out to the airport AGAIN, and then heads to my stop. Seriously. Why are they calling that an Express route?
According to the transit provider, the 2X route is called the "Airporter" or "Airport Express", with buses every 20 minutes that provide service to the Airport.

I just had to shake my head and walk away.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Confusion of terms?

During his energy policy speech today, Rick Perry apparently (according to a tweet from TeamRickPerry), said that he would use revenues from increased energy exploration to "pay down [the] deficit".

According to dictionary.com, a deficit is defined as:

def·i·cit

  [def-uh-sit; Brit. also dih-fis-it]  Show IPA

noun
1.
the amount by which a sum of money falls short of therequired amount.
2.
the amount by which expenditures or liabilities exceedincome or assets.
3.
a lack or shortage; deficiency.
4.
a disadvantage, impairment, or handicap: The team's major deficit is its poor pitching.
5.
a loss, as in the operation of a business.
Basically, it is the gap by which expenditures exceeds revenues. How exactly does one "pay down" an budgeting problem? You can pay down the accumulated debt, or you can use the revenues generated to fund some aspect of the budget, thus reducing the deficit, but there is nothing there to physically pay down.1

And people wonder why Borepatch refers to the Republicans as the Stupid party.

1Yes it's a minor nitpick, but if you're stumping to become POTUS, clarity of terms is rather important.

Further thoughts on Dr. Warren

On Wednesday, I wrote about why I thought Dr. Warren's ideas are wrong.

This morning, I had a further thought. An epiphany, if you will.

Now, again, this is probably rather naive and simple-sighted of me, but the irony of the situation amuses me to now end.

In part of the 2009 interview with Dr. Warren that I did not quote, she said:
HINOJOSA: So, how is it possible? We were all upset about these big bonuses and all this executive pay. And it’s right back—this is like deja vu all over again.
WARREN: Yeah. This one, I have to say, truly amazes me, that these folks who are supposed to be the smartest folks in the room, believe that they can take taxpayer money and save their businesses from complete destruction, and still continue to reward themselves as if—they had earned it all. It’s as if they don’t understand the world changed when you had to take money from the taxpayers to stay alive.
HINOJOSA: But did the world really change for them?
WARREN: Well, evidently not. And—I think what that means is that we really have to change this one now, again, by statute. I’m sorry, I—I was really a believer. “The market will heal itself, everything will correct here,” at least on executive pay. Because no one would be so foolish as to think, “I’ll take taxpayer money and then, while people are unemployed, I will lard my—myself with—with pay.”
For her, one of the most egregious actions was that executives continued to get big paychecks, and that bonuses were paid out, even though these companies received TARP and other bailout funds.

But what were the companies supposed to do? As I recall, they were contractually obligated to pay out those bonuses. Yes, most of the executives and traders returned them, or donated them to charity, due to public pressure and shaming, but the companies had no choice in the matter. Had the not paid those bonuses, they would have been subjected to employee lawsuits, which would have cost them even more money.

I mentioned irony earlier, and here's where I find it. Dr. Warren wants to control executive compensation for companies that received federal funds, and thinks that the bonuses shouldn't have been paid. There is already a free-market process in place for that. It's called bankruptcy. Had those banks been allowed to go into bankruptcy, the courts could have voided the employment contracts, thus eliminating the employee bonuses. The courts could have restructured the compensation packages for all of the employees involved. Any expenditures require the approval of the appointed trustee (if there is one) and the court.

However, that's not good enough for the socialist and progressive members of our society. Free-market corrections aren't "social justice", whatever that means. Instead, the answer is always more government, more regulations, and more control.

We see where that has pushed this country.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You keep using that word

I do not think it means what you think it means:

What's wrong with Elizabeth Warren?

Rod Dreher, formerly of the editorial board at the Dallas Morning News and the Templeton Foundation, and now with The American Conservative, asks "Remind Me Why I’m Supposed to Hate Elizabeth Warren, Because I’m Not Seeing It".


As part of his evidence, he refers to a PBS interview conducted in 2009.


To me, the critical portion of the interview that he quotes is this:
WARREN: We’ve gotta change the executive compensation structure. And it’s straight across the board.
HINOJOSA: For every single company across the board?
WARREN: You—you bet.
HINOJOSA: But when you look at Goldman Sachs, for example, they did pay back the Tarp money. So, what responsibility do we have, what authority do we have to go in and say, “You need to check out your executive pay and lower it”?
WARREN: They paid back the Tarp money, but they’re still operating with government guarantees. They still are counting on the taxpayer to back stop them. And I believe that gives the taxpayer a seat at the table in decision making over executive compensation. It’s our money. The key has to be that congress needs to rewrite all of the rules on executive compensation. And we need a special set of rules for any company that’s relying on any kind of taxpayer back stop.
HINOJOSA: And the hands are gonna go up and say, “Oh, my god, they’re controlling executive pay. This is—we’re going down the tubes in America.”
WARREN: They’re saying, “You might cut us off from our taxpayer subsidies.” And, you know, that just breaks my heart.
HINOJOSA: Okay. But—but if they’re saying, “Look this is capitalism.”
WARREN: No, this is not capitalism. That’s the whole point. This is socialism. This is the part where they’re using taxpayer guarantees and taxpayer support in order to eek out some kind of private gain. And this is just wrong.
I have no problems with being beholden to government requirements when you suck at the government teat. That's part of playing the game. If you run your company into the ground, and the government bails you out, guess what? The government gets to define at least some of the rules of the game. That's all well and good.

Unfortunately, that's not precisely what happened with TARP and the other government bailouts. The government knew that taking federal stimulus or bailout dollars could be perceived as a negative. So, they essentially forced some financial institutions that didn't need a bailout into the program, just to level the playing field, as it were. That way, no one major financial institution could say "Bank with us, we didn't take any federal money", thus adversely affecting those that did.

Not that any company would do that, would they?



Further, there were occasions when banks attempted to repay their bailout loans early, in order to get out from under the strictures of TARP, and the government told them no, they couldn't repay early.

So, for Dr. Warren to claim that a company operating under government guarantees is subject to exceptional government control is a bit of a chimera. It's not good enough that they still owe the government money, now their business model is backed by "guarantees." Do tariffs count as guarantees? What about price controls? What about startup loans similar to those provided to Solyndra (and I wouldn't have too many problems with loans bringing along leg irons, but that's another post for another day).

My issue with Dr. Warren is that she out-and-out supports a socialist agenda. Sure, for now she's trying to specifically tailor that agenda. But when has a tailored agenda remained form-fitting? How long before it becomes nothing more than a tent to cover up a multitude of sins? What are the conservative/libertarian complaints about Cain's 9-9-9 plan? The same concept applies here.

Further, let's fast-forward to 2011. Dr. Warren has been making the rounds again with her "God bless" polemic:
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there -- good for you.
But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory.
Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea -- God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
 So now, it's not good enough that you have accepted direct government aid in the form of a loan or a payout. You have not just stood on the shoulders of giants a la Sir Isaac Newton. No, your entire success has been bootstrapped by a governmental support network that built your roads, educated your workers and protected your assets.

Guess what? In Dr. Warren's world, I would bet real money that this constitutes "operating with government guarantees", and your company is now subject to wage controls subject to the whim of the government.

Yes, this a bit of a slippery slope argument. However, as Thomas Jefferson reminds us "[t]he natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

Looking at her interview in 2009, and her statements here in 2011, I see nothing in her positions that would preserve the liberty of commerce without yielding ground to increased governmental control.

And that, my dear readers, is what's wrong with Dr. Elizabeth Warren.

Time to join DADD

Well, I've finally decided I need to join DADD, what with having 3 daughters and all.

Sounds about right
I think JayG might want to join as well.

I'd say Borepatch too, but I don't think he has any female progeny.

Oh, and come to think of it, RobbAllen might be interested as well.

Now I know how Borepatch feels

(well, sort of, but in a much smaller fashion).

Borepatch has occasionally talked about his creative process, and how he goes about blogging. Part of that, for him, is the creation of an über-post, and how the concept for it will rattle around in his brain for a while.

Well, I either have mental indigestion or I have the idea for an über-post or two rattling around in my head.

Hopefully I'll be able to turn these into something worth your reading.

As a teaser, one is about the financial meltdown, and the housing markets in particular. The other is about 2A rights, and how they balance against other fundamental rights.

We'll see what I can come up with.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Feeling a little needy, Adobe?

Hey, Adobe, just how much do you need? I give and give and give. I apply your patches, I apply your updates, I even upgrade to the latest version.

Why then do you find it necessary to reduce my dual-core laptop to a single core? Seriously, just because I told your update engine that I would reboot later to finish the installation, there's no need to get all huffy and chew up one whole core just sitting there spinning.

I know you're mad that I'm ignoring you, but I really need to get this work done, okay? A reboot just takes too long. I'll pay attention to you later, like the next time you nag me that you didn't finish.

I love the taste of spam in the morning

At work, we use Postini on our inbound edge email servers. It actually does a pretty decent job of spam detection and trapping. One of the things that I like about it is that it allows individual users to manage their own white-lists, without having to bug an email administrator.

It is interesting to view the daily quarantine summaries, and see what the latest and greatest 'fad' is with regards to spam and phishing attempts. I'm detecting a definite theme today.

According to the "IRS", my tax return has been received 4 times, they have "important information" about it that they want to share with me, and they were also unable to process it (which one of the 4 submittals, I'm not sure). While it would probably be educational to actually have those messages delivered, and investigate the headers on them, I'm just not that motivated to do so.

I'm not trying to steal a march on Borepatch, and do his security blogging for him (he's amply sufficient to the task, kthxbai), but please keep your wits about you when you are checking your email. Is it from a bank you don't do business with? Is it from an online payment servicer you haven't used in a decade? Is it from an online auction site you set up an account with once, and never used again? Is it coming in to your work address instead of your personal address?

Yeah, those are all probably warning signs.

My personal favorite was an email I received the other day about a problem with my bank account. I received it on my work account. The recipient on the "TO:" line? An internal distribution list (that was somehow available publicly, but don't get me started). Yeah, somehow I don't think I ever used that email address in association with ANY personal accounts.

And then there was the story I heard about a user concerned about an email they received. It said there was a problem with a NACHA payment they'd submitted, and to please click on this link. They clicked on the link 10 or more times, each time, according to the Service Desk ticket they opened, being directed to a blank web page "that didn't do anything." According to the deskside technician I spoke with, it definitely did do something. They finally decided that nuke & pave was the safest option.

Oh, and here's a protip for you. Individuals don't deal with NACHA. Financial institutions do. Your online bill payment, or direct deposit, or funds transfer might get routed through the Automated Clearing House (ACH), which NACHA manages, but you don't ever talk to them directly.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh, wait, it's Blogorado time again, isn't it?

First, it was AD back in 2009.

Then it was FarmGirl earlier this year.

I had one of those scary moments this morning on my way to the bus stop. It was still before sunrise, and pretty dark out. As I'm passing the local nursery and greenhouse, I catch something out of the corner of my eye. As I look over toward the side of a rode, a small deer (either a doe or spike) bolts across the road. Fortunately, the road was only two lanes, I wasn't going that fast, and I saw it soon enough to panic brake and avoid it. But, I will say that it definitely got my heart rate going.

But, seriously people, it is that time of year when the local fauna are becoming more active, especially around dawn and dusk. Keep your eyes open, especially on the verge where they like to feed. You might even consider slowing down a tad, and definitely increase your following distance. From what I hear, automotively collected venison isn't the tastiest in the world, and the whole car repair thing makes it rather expensive.

Oh, yeah, and if you're going to use those ultrasonic deer-repelling whistles, make sure you follow the installation instructions.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fruit of the poisoned tree

(h/t David Monroe)
So, if he was such an evil, horrible, disgusting man, why are you using his products?

Shouldn't boycotts start at home?

The day the music died

Steve Jobs Dead at 56

The first computer I remember using in school was either an Apple //c or a Macintosh Classic. The first computer we had in the house growing up was an Apple ][e. Oh, and on that ][e? We had the duo-disk drive. Two floppy drives side-by-side in one housing. They stacked right on top of the computer, and then the monitor sat on top of that. I was King of the Hill with that setup, baby!!!

You see, I am a military brat, and one of the first smart marketing moves Apple made was to get a preferential supplier contract with the DoD. Every AAFES  store carried Apple computers, and that was it. No IBM PCs or PC Jrs, just Apple gear. All of the DoD schools  used Apple computers. So, if it was done on a computer, it was done on an Apple, at least for me.

Later, the family upgraded to an Apple IIgs, and I got the ][e in my room. I don't remember the name of it, but there was a side-scrolling "kung fu" type game that I loved to play. It fit on one 5.25" floppy. I remember finding my first "easter egg" in that game. One day, I accidentally put the disk in upside down. Well, instead of getting an error about not being able to read the disk, the game started playing, upside down. They simply took all the graphics code and flipped it, so your character was running across the top of the monitor instead of the bottom. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world.

The first computer program I ever wrote was on the IIgs. That system made it VERY easy to do graphics coding, so I wrote a small AppleBasic program that made a colored bar "bounce" across the screen. It started on the left edge, and then grew a random length across the screen. It also randomly shifted colors. It was a crappy program, but it was my first one.

The first document-processing software I used was also Apple-based. I don't remember the name for it now, but it was all command-line. No GUI used. Your formatting codes were all inserted directly into the document, and showed up inline with your text, like formatting marks if you turn those on in Word today. I had most of the formatting codes memorized, and the technology/computer teacher would frequently ask me for help. (Yeah, I was that kid that always wanted to run the projector, too).

I was finally introduced to PC clones and Microsoft operating systems in junior high, once we moved back stateside. The first PC I bought for myself was right before my senior year. It was a 386-DX40, with a 100MB hard drive, 16 MB of RAM, a 16-bit Soundblaster, and a 1x CD-ROM drive. It was marketed as MMC-1 (multi-media computer) compliant. I still have my DOS 6.0 and 6.22 install diskettes, along with my Windows for Workgroups 3.11 floppies.

Today, the only Apple products in my house are a 3rd-gen iPod Nano (bought used from a friend when he traded up) and a 4th-gen iPod Touch (a graduation present). I have personally never spent money on Apple hardware.

Apple, especially under Jobs' leadership, has designed great hardware, with wonderful UI and UX elements. However, one of the things that has always turned me off about them, especially in the computer arena, was that they kept everything in-house from a hardware perspective, instead of licensing it out. I remember working in a computer shop that was also a licensed Apple facility. We had to order all of the replacement hardware direct from Apple; there were no other suppliers. A disk drive that would cost $40 for a PC clone was over $120 for a Macintosh (yes, I realize their Superdrive was a bit different technologically, but it was functionally the same). So, I just never really bought into the Cult of Apple on the computer side.

Regardless, though, Steve Jobs will be missed in the IT industry. He was a visionary, who cared as much about the user experience as he did about company profits.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And then there were 5.

Approximately 69 months ago, I came home from work, and after doing the whole dinner and "get the kids to bed" thing, I plopped down on the couch and turned on Sports Center. The Mrs. came walking into the living room and asked if I could turn it off, because "we need to talk". I'll be honest, my first thought was "Oh great, what have I done now?"

She asked me if I remembered us talking about possibly converting the garage (we lived in a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house at the time). Feeling VERY confused as to the topic of the conversation, I said "yesssss. . . . . . . ." I remember that she had a funny look on her face, but I was so off-kilter by the seemingly random question, my brain was moving in super slow motion. "I think we need to get a quote on doing that," she said. "Okay. . . . . . .", I replied. "Why????"

She slowly pulled her hands out from behind her back (why did I not notice she was hiding something earlier? Oh yeah, I was wanting to watch T.V., a little miffed she interrupted, and thrown off by the whole topic of conversation).

Oh boy!!!

Yep, number 4 is on the way!!!


5 years ago today, my son was born. Honestly, the Mrs. and I thought we were done having kids, but someone *cough*me*cough* just never did quite get that appointment made with the urologist.

With three girls first, let me tell you having a boy in the house was a HUGE adjustment. Even though I've joked in the past that he would have the best looking hair in Kindergarten, it's been amazing how different he's been. Yes, he will occasionally throw on the cheerleading outfit (skort included) and have fun with that, but he'd much rather play with his action figures, or his Tonka trucks, or build stuff out of Legos.

I also have a much better appreciation for what my parents went through. They both got this knowing look when we told them it was going to be a boy. I remember comments along the lines of "payback is hell" and "now you'll know what we went through". I blew them off thinking "it can't be that bad."

Um, yeah, wow, I was wrong.

But, as frustrating as it can be, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It's only been 5 years, but I can already see shades of the man he will grow up to be. He has his little annoying streaks, but he also has his manners, and will open the door for the ladies, and say his "yes ma'ams" and "yes sirs". I'm looking forward to school, and sports, and scouting, and camping, and all those things, both with him and his sisters.

Happy birthday buddy!!

And then there were 5

. . .and never the twain shall meet

(h/t to multiple facebook friends)
(and with apologies to Rudyard Kipling)

Monday, October 3, 2011