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Archive for 2009

Owned by a 1st grade math worksheet.

This was not the first time I misunderstood the instructions for one of Connor’s homework assignments. But after spending a lot of time in college working with Euclidean geometry, Boolean logic and business formulas like Altman’s Z-score Ratio, I thought I had at least until the 5th grade before the math worksheets would defeat me.

Then along came “Double Dominoes”. Don’t know why it became the mind bender from hell. As usual the only complicated part was the instructions. See the actual worksheet below. The part that got me was “Draw the domino that shows the double plus one.”

OK. Does this mean the next “Double Domino” (i.e. the double that is plus one)? Or does it mean the sum of the previous domino plus one? Since the name of the worksheet is “Double Dominoes” I decided to roll the dice and assume it meant the next double domino in the sequence. Nope. The instructions should have said “Draw the domino that shows the sum of the previous dominoes dots plus one.”

double3

I felt bad about not understanding the instructions until I read his teachers explanation: “When you double a number, just add 1”. Hmmmmm. I better let Drew know to check our numbers quick. The auditors are here and we’ve been multiplying by 2 the whole time.

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Obama is a Nobel Peace prize winner?

It’s the most talked about topic today. How did it happen and why? The award included a citation praising him for international diplomacy. I actually had to go to lunch with two co-workers today, our CFO and the principal owner of Trimaco. One is a staunch conservative Republican and the other is a bleeding heart liberal. I wanted to hear the argument first hand.

Drew, our CFO, had some valid points and a few ideological rants about Obama in general. David, much to my surprise, questioned the legitimacy of Obama receiving the award almost as much as Drew. Of course I had to interject my two cents. The thing that concerns me the most about Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize is not that he won it. It’s that someone else did not.

Do you really mean to tell me that in 2008 and 2009 no one on earth did more to promote world peace than a guy who made three international motivational speeches? And let’s face it, that’s all he did. Sure he might have displaced a little of the growing animosity towards the US by visiting some cultures where no other US diplomat dared to tread recently, but what specific result did he achieve that made the world a more peaceful place? He didn’t foster any signed peace accords the way Carter did. He didn’t tear down any communist walls the way Reagan did. And neither one of them won the award during their presidency.

I suppose that for the most part the Nobel Peace prize is purely symbolic. Obama’s winning the award may cause contradiction in his ability to defend the nation in a time of war when aggressive action may be necessary. But the bigger problem I feel this points out to the world is that the organizers of the award could not find anyone who symbolized a greater peace movement this year than a man who may have the final call on extending current wars or initiating new ones should they be warranted through the turn of events.

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Durham’s Cree promises 575 new jobs by 2012…

I looks like Cree will be hiring some manufacturing labor for some of these positions. This is a welcome change from the typical biotech and engineering opportunities requiring advanced degrees. It’s rare that manufacturing jobs come along in the Triangle.
http://triangle.bizjournals.com/triangle/stories/2009/10/05/daily60.html

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I wanna start a kickball team.

Ever since I read about the World Adult Kickball Association national tournament I’ve had a mission in mind. I want to start or join a WAKA kickball team around here. I’ve gotta do it. It’s stuck in my brain.

It’s so competitive that the officials are required to pass a written test, and must receive recommendations. It’s so competitive that, to make the game harder for pitchers, they must make the ball bounce at least twice before it reaches the plate. It’s so competitive that some players even delay their drinking until after playing the nine games in one day that could make them champions.

And, for these guys and girls, that self-control is quite an accomplishment.

After all, the Founders Day Weekend ends with what WAKA touts at the World’s Largest Flip Cup tournament, which essentially involves swigging as fast as you can.

And, after all, these are some of the other team names:

Party Foul. Happy Hour. And yes, Menace to Sobriety.

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SPS Commerce proves what a joke they are….again.

I’ve decided to post this email string from Amanda McFarlane at SPS Commerce.  Read through it and decide for yourself just how useful and effective SPS Commerce is as an “outsourced EDI solution”.

Please note that I was told that we must complete the testing detailed in the email by a certain date or face fines and penalties, imposed by SPS Commerce, and potentially jeopardize our relationship with OUR customer who is detailed in the email string.

I’ll let the email speak for itself as to SPS Commerce’s effectiveness.  Never have I loathed a company and their business practices as much as SPS Commerce who claim they are “the intelligent way to work with trading partners”.  Since when is ineffective, unnecessary, fake document exchange testing “intelligent”?

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How is the RTP job market still performing above average?

The big news within the last two weeks is that EMC is expanding it’s operations in the Park with plans to hire up to 397 people in the $280 million expansion.  This won’t do much for the majority of job seekers in the immediate area.  But it will provide opportunities for out of work engineers and technologists willing to relocate.  To understand why the RTP businesses continue to hire in spite of a falling domestic economy it is only necessary to look at why so many people are out of work in the first place.

When I was 29 years old I was still going to college frat parties with friends who were grad students.  I know…lame.  I hung around with one guy, Jake, who started a NC State campus student services site called The Wolf Web.   The site now has thousands of registered users.  Jake went on to find a job and make money.  I’m sure he’s persevering through the down economy, I know his site certainly is.  But Jake’s story was in stark contrast to many of the seniors and grad students I knew six years ago.  If most were asked what they planned to do with their Sociology, Business or Spanish degrees after graduation they all had the same answers: “be a manager” or “start a business”.

They didn’t seem to understand the concept that they couldn’t manage anybody or anything until they learn a particular industry.  And through the heightened sense of entitlement instilled by their high school and college counselors they presumed vast riches awaited them with any college degree.  They absolutely refused to believe the bottom rung of the corporate ladder was waiting for them.  Why shouldn’t have they believed it ?  The graduates of the 90’s got to start at the middle or the top with instant stock options for the even the lowest positions in the company.

So armed with degrees in Early America Literature and weak Social Science skills the graduates descended on the job market by the tens of thousands.    They entered into a market already saturated with useless middle management earning disproportionate salaries.  None had the skills to perform the work necessary to generate revenue.  They only possessed their perceived ability to “manage” those who do.  In early 2007 reality began to slap a lot of people in the face who’s perceived value to a company was actually quite less than their actual contribution.

Much of this has to do with the education college graduates were, and are, choosing.  “Choosing” is the operative word because given the choice of a career path in Engineering, Biotech or Computer Science they consciously decide not to risk the perception of being a geek.  It’s not possible drink and worry about sex all the time if your heads in a book.   Not many Chemical Engineering students can risk a daily hangover.  So the answer seems simple:  Take the path of least resistance and get the general education or cultural arts degree, hunker down and wait for a job being the boss.  Ya, good luck with that.

RTP companies demand the best workers who can perform towards the bottom line.  You must be highly computer literate with an advanced degree in a technical or biological specialization.  The Biotech, Engineering and Technology sectors still have many vacancies for graduates and experienced jobs seekers with the skills to produce.  These positions don’t include on the job training.

And I can’t close without mentioning how science and math courses took a back seat to bible study for a decade or two.  This will be vehemently denied by many but it was in fact a contributing factor, no matter how slight, to the downfall of graduates with advanced technical degrees needed to fill the positions available in the tech sector.

As I write this President Obama is presenting the National Science and Technology awards for this year.   He stated the federal government will invest 3% of the nations gross domestic product into science and technology education.  This is how we will overcome the recession and put people back to work.  If you’re an old dog who can’t, or won’t learn new tricks…. enjoy your unemployment check while it lasts.

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When do sales people actually work?

I know how much money many sales reps earned at the companies I’ve worked for during the last few years.  That’s the “information” part of IT.  Provided this knowledge I wonder if some of these sales folks know I can correlate the amount of time they spend on Facebook verses doing actual work (some are even crazy enough to befriend me without putting me in a “block” group).  Yesterday one of them, who’s making pretty good money, started her day on FB by posting all about reading in the tub and making brunch for friends….on a Tuesday morning.

I’ve always thought sales reps are over paid.  I understand that management has to determine a base salary that motivates without discouraging.  I find there is a lot more motivation pay than actual results in many cases.  Our retailer reps work a lot.  These are the guys in contact with the Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart buyers etc.  It’s the other reps that are suppose to attend these conferences and expos to generate new business who seem like they spend three or four days on the road and then three or four days at home relaxing or playing golf for “business purposes”.

If the owners of any company had a look into how much business relation time sales reps spend working with customers verses personal time socializing my guess is base salaries would be much lower and commissions would be higher.  Hell, if it were me the base for any sales rep would be near minimum wage plus travel and expenses.  If the sales rep can’t earn enough to equal the difference, given a good commission, they need to find another career path.  College graduates should look into enterprise software or technology sales.  There’s a shortage in the market and it’s a cushy living.

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New Site Title and Updates

I came to a conclusion weeks ago that I needed to modernize this blog with a new theme, content and title.  I’m tired of the site going by my name.  It never sat well with me from the beginning.  So for the next couple of days I’m going to try new titles, based partially upon available URL’s and settle on a site title by Friday.  Until then the title of the site and the banner may change frequently.

I’m keeping the subtitle so everyone will know they’re in the right place.

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Richard Huether took a bullet for The Honey Baked Ham Company and was fired.

Richard, a General Manager, was leaving work in Cary one night and was shot by a robber in the stomach.  He went on workman’s comp and as soon as the benefits expired the Honey Baked Ham Company fired him.

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/6080324/

Spread the word, no Honey Baked Hams this Thanksgiving or Christmas.  These Corpratist Ass Clowns put revenue above human welfare and their employees.  The man took a bullet for them and their still more concerned about the effect his absence has on their bottom line than his family.  Plus, they lied to him.  The company promised in e-mails to keep him and his family “whole financially.”  Well, at least until it costs them any money.

Never cared much for their over-priced hams anyway.

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Pelosi: House Dems consider insurance tax to fund health care – CNN.com

“The House Democrats’ health care plan includes a surtax on wealthy Americans. The graduated tax would apply to families making more than $350,000 a year, with the rate increasing as income levels go up. But a number of freshmen Democrats argued that the initial income level should be raised so the tax doesn’t unfairly burden small businesses.”

Since when did “families making more than $350,000 a year” become “small businesses” that we do not want to burden?

Even the Blue Dogs have stopped trying to make sense.  Compromised legislation folks.  It is what Obama asked for.

via Pelosi: House Dems consider insurance tax to fund health care – CNN.com.

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