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Archive for 2010

Take a break from facebook.

fbYou might not miss it. Seems like all I ever see posted is a bunch of girly fluff. Even the guys who post on there make sure their posts are way too cutesy and family friendly to be entertaining. I’m actually ready for my days to pass without the urge to check on a facebook status. I must immediately remove the iGoogle facebook gadget designed to constantly remind me other people have little or nothing to do all day except remind everyone how they don’t have anything better to do. There have been rare, occasional exceptions where I learn something important from a status update but not many.

Facebook is a genuine productivity killer for most because it distracts from real life. You know the life where you should be finding something to do instead of hoping to stumble upon exciting events in the lives of others. Seems like all the really important things to me are too personal or sensitive for facebook. No one really wants to know how I feel today. Hell, I don’t want to burden my “friends” with how I really feel most days. It’s suppose to be all witty humor and photos of the kids. People that post their misfortunes and disappointments need to keep that crap to themselves. So many times I’ve wanted to comment “Sounds like a personal problem”. It’s kinda making me a little gag a little to think about it. To all my facebook “friends”, I have not died. I have just gone away to the same place I was before we “found” each other again thanks to some dude named Zuckerberg.

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How screwed up is Ticketmaster?

I can’t make sense of how to buy tickets from them much less understand the prices. I heard Train was coming to Time Warner Pavillion (Walnut Creek) on Saturday the 17th. Sure nuff’, their website says so.

I hit the “click here to buy tickets” link on the Train website to check the price. I was taken to a Ticketmaster page for the John Mayer concert at Walnut Creek on Saturday the 17th. Same date, different artist. So is Train opening for Mayer? Vice-versa? No mention of Train on the Ticketmaster page. No mention of John Mayer on the Train website. WTF?

So I clicked the Ticketmaster “pick your seats” link. This is when I almost fell out of my chair. Two tickets, in the cheap seats: $169.00! OMFG.

mayer

Just the other day I was reading a NY Times article about how concert ticket sales are in the dirt this year because of cost. No wonder. I wouldn’t spend that to see John Mayer and Train including back stage passes. Never mind Ticketmaster doesn’t even make it clear who is performing. Turns out it is both. Mayer’s “taking Train for some of the ride”.

It is unbelievable what’s happened since Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged. From what I understand the artists aren’t even making much money off the shows. The venues, Ticketbastards and Screw the Nation are raking in millions for each show. Now I don’t care who is performing.

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Protected: An on-going Menace

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Public Enemies could not be less historically accurate.

I have been a long time gangster fan. Not the wannabe gangsta thugs running around today but the real 1920’s and 30’s gangsters who invented and funded the original US crime syndicate before getting booted out of it. I was excited about seeing the movie Public Enemies because I heard it was historically accurate and I liked the idea of Johnny Depp as Dillinger.

Depp didn’t let me down in his role but as far as historical accuracy this movie could not have been any worse. From the opening scenes where Dillinger helps break his new gang out of the Indiana Penitentiary it’s all wrong. Dillinger was never present at the break out even though he did help arrange for the weapons to be smuggled in.

The scene introducing Agent Melvin Purvis was about as far off as it could be too. It’s said Purvis never fired his gun in the line of duty even though he was a crack shot. Despite this information he shoots and kills Pretty Boy Floyd at the beginning of the film. Charles Floyd was actually killed in October of 1934 almost four months after Dillinger. Three different accounts exist of how he was killed but none agree it was in an apple orchard.

The film also shows Baby Face Nelson getting killed during a chase following the gunfight at the Little Bohemia hide out which occurred in April 1934. Lester Gillis, AKA George Nelson, was actually the last of the notorious three killed in November of 1934. Purvis didn’t shoot him either. In fact, he wasn’t even there.

I can only guess these changes were made to glorify Melvin Purvis and compress the demise of these criminals into a time line suitable for a feature length film while interconnecting their associations and deaths. It made for an OK movie. It would have been a better movie if they had actually vilified Dillinger and Nelson through portrayals of heavy violence. Instead they concentrated far too much of the film on the romance of Dillinger almost to the point of making Melvin Purvis and the Bureau of Investigation looking like a bunch of buffoons getting lucky.

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I want a dumb phone again.

My smart phone doesn’t make me feel very smart.  I don’t like the constant chirp alerting me to new email.  I don’t like the inconvenience of a touch screen keypad when responding to in-call key prompts.  I don’t text, ever, and I don’t like responding to emails requiring lengthy explanations on a 4″ QWERTY keyboard.  I feel bad for allowing myself to become so mentally dependent on a device.

I really want a phone that has good battery life, doesn’t require a slide and 10 taps to dial and makes noise only when it’s suppose to.  Like when a call is coming in.  The problem is I’m an IT Director.   I’m suppose to be “geeked out” with this hi-tech stuff.  The owner and CFO of the company carry smart phones, an iPhone and a HTC Tilt 2 like mine.  Wonderful.  Now we can all struggle to communicate at once.

Does anyone care if I update Facebook or Twitter announcing what restaurant I’m in?  Is it critical I take pics of my kids with a poor resolution camera to upload immediately (I don’t do that anyway)?   And how has it gotten to the point where I feel obligated to pick up my phone and check an incoming email whenever I’m driving the car.  Which is really cool since it’s illegal now.

Truth is I want a phone to be something unique in the modern world of technology – a phone.   Because of corporate image and communication expectations I will carry this convoluted gadget around so all the high school kids will think I’m important because I’m a really connected guy.  You know, hangin’ out, texin’ whanot…..

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It’s April 19th 2010. Tread lightly.

It’s just after 10 AM on April 19th.  A date near the top of the Dept. of Homeland Security’s domestic terrorist watch list.  Will we make it through the day without a major, newsworthy event spawned by anti-authority activism?

  • In 1995 Tim McVeigh blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City killing 168 people including children in the buildings day care.
  • In 1993 the Branch Dividians burned themselves up, and took the lives of 20 children, ending a standoff against federal agents.
  • In 1992 Randy Weaver gave newspaper reporters an interview to state that he had not fired on Geraldo Rivera’s helicopter flying over his Ruby Ridge cabin, then surrounded by federal authorities who later killed his dog and 14 year old son.  The helicopter pilot himself, Richard Weiss, gave the FBI FD-302 interviews denying that Weaver fired on his helicopter.   Rivera’s false media reports of coming under fire became a large part of the justification later cited by federal agents when drawing up the Ruby Ridge Rules of Engagement, a major event spawning anti-federal activism.
  • In 1775 Minutemen in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts stood their ground against tax collectors sent by the King of England and the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired.  Although Minuteman Captain John Parker orders the colonists not to fire unless fired upon to this day it’s not clear who shot first.  Modern day anti-federal activists use the anniversary of this event to represent justification for resistance to what is perceived as unjust government authority.

Let’s see what the rest of today brings.  Whatever the wingnuts do, let’s hope they keep the kids out of it next time.

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Best politial forum comment this year…

Ask yourself this, when was the last time you thought seriously about a problem this country has (political, economic, health care, taxes etc) and found yourself changing your mind because you discovered some new fact you previously did not know or you arrived at a different understanding. If you can’t remember the last time this happened, then you are part of  America’s problem. Strict ideology has no place in a well run nation and that includes strict adherence to our constitution, a document that was written hundreds of years ago when society had no cars, planes, TV, internet, railroads, or anything else that makes up our modern world. Not to mention the fact that it permitted slavery and did not permit women or blacks to vote.” – Guest @ cnn.com

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/04/14/tea.party.rally/index.html?eref=igoogle_cnn

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Blackberry and RIM might not last.

There are so many reasons Blackberry’s suck that it’s not even worth the effort to generate a yet another list on the interwebs. You can just Google “blackberry sucks” and you’ll see what I mean. Their parent company, Research In Motion or RIM, has been responsible for more data service outages to the phones than any Exchange server administrator would be allowed while keeping his job.

RIM puts obscure middleware servers between the phones and mail servers, called Blackberry Enterprise Servers, which connect to the RIM network.  The polling process by these systems put a lot of overhead on the Exchange server(s). Meanwhile the users are stuck with God awful handsets with unintuitive user interfaces, evil scroll wheels, lack of quality document support for Word and Excel, and very few units support 3G which doesn’t matter because the browser makes the surfing experience pathetic anyway.

The Blackberry brand will fail for RIM very soon without drastic changes. Compared to other smart phones they just don’t match up. Most younger consumers who are in “touch” with technology realize the limitations and clumsy interfaces of the Blackberry OS and laugh at it. Meanwhile I can tell you from direct corporate experience the only people who continue to want them anymore are old men. To define old I mean the 55+ crowd. They don’t know any better, they’re scared to be misinterpreted as hip or cool with a modern touch screen smart phone when their fellow executives (also old men) whip a Blackberry out of their golf bags with strong, conservative business pride.

That’s why I now call Blackberry’s “hearing aids”. They’re for old men who think that an iPhone’s and Droids are just toys for teenagers who want to watch Hulu videos all day. The blackberry will go the way of the aging members of its support base.  And just like the hyper-conservatives who carry them Blackberry won’t make a comeback because anal-retentive is not something that’s going to come back into style for at least a few decades.

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Facebook Mobile

It looks like many mobile versions of facebook and google gadgets that depend on the mobile interface are broken today thanks to new code introduced by facebook.

I really think that in terms of user interface changes, consistency and reliability facebook is one of the absolute worst web 2.0 site in development. It’s like they constantly fix what isn’t broken just to keep people employed.

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Lone senator blocks unemployment benefit extensions – CNN.com

Retiring Sen. Jim Bunning said he doesn’t oppose extending the programs — he just doesn’t want to add to the deficit.

via Lone senator blocks unemployment benefit extensions – CNN.com.

Why is it that many Republicans have no problem running up the meter to fund illegal and unnecessary wars of aggression but have an issue with increasing the national debt to help fellow Americans?

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