Archive for 2013

Colorado could make more money than Microsoft.

It is absolutely staggering that one state alone may “generate more revenue than Microsoft” from marijuana cultivation while other states continue to run up the bill on tax payers by arresting, court processing and incarcerating citizens on low level possession charges. All over a drug less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, making NC particularly hypocritical because of the states devotion to tobacco farmers. This ain’t about “gateway drugs” or other tired, stale semantics. This is pure economics now. Any loss of revenue and added expense can now be specifically blamed on those too foolish to understand the basic concept of commodity supply and demand. Not to mention the parallel industrial hemp revenue.

Did you know that during the early colonial days of NC it was mandated by the Queen of England that 20% of all crops be comprised of hemp for the navy? To this day nothing can make stronger natural rope and fibers. Most synthetics struggle to surpass hemp, including Kevlar and carbon fibers. Hemp production was ended with the laws introduced by the politically motivated, paranoid propaganda campaigns of the 50’s through the 70’s.

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Five things that won’t be around when your kids reach your age.

The more things change, the more Americans try to keep them the same. Usually to our detriment. War stories, tales of the good old days… we love us some nostalgia. Even if it’s broken we won’t fix it unless there’s profit involved. Despite this desire by many to keep antiquated product, systems, and procedures in place there are quite a few things we use every day that are going the way of the beeper despite the resistance. We don’t need them, they don’t make money and our kids won’t have them.

#5 – Car Keys

It’s getting more and more difficult to buy a new car that comes with keys.  Proximity sensor key fobs are here to stay.  I made sure to buy a car that has keys in 2013 because it will likely be the last one I will be able to purchase new that does.  My kids will be driving in their 20’s laughing with their friends about the car keys dad carried.

#4 – CD’s and DVD’s

Redbox better take advantage while they still can because streaming is the future.  Your kids will watch episode 14 of Gilligan’s Island whenever they want to and they will wait less time than it takes a 30 second commercial to run for their programming to begin.

#3 – Land Lines

And for that matter wired internet connections.  My oldest son will be happy to look back at my fights with routers, wireless access points and bridges throughout the house and realize his wireless connection is effortless.  In less than 10 years AT&T will end the era of copper phone lines from the street.  It will all be fiber, VoIP and wireless.

#2 – Newspapers

Yes, they are still sold.  The only reason I know this is because someone leaves a free one in my driveway once a week that gets turned to mush as I drive over it more than four times.  I’ve never opened the little plastic bag it comes in.  Didn’t even read or keep the print edition that contained quotes and excerpts from this blog.  What a waste of paper.  If you still read a newspaper chances are you are checking your blood pressure regularly and considering a Geritol supplement.  It’s over.  Buy a tablet or eReader, let newsprint die and save some trees.

#1 – Checkbooks

Speaking of useless paper.  The UK is scheduled to do away with personal checking for private account holders in 2014.  The U.S. will certainly follow in short order.  They are nothing more than an expense in processing coupled with risk for the banks.  They are nothing short of infuriating for shoppers in a check out line.  It’s time to give up on the nostalgia and the perceived need for checks in the name of personal organization.  Does anyone under 50 actually balance a check book anymore?  I think we still have some checkbooks around.  I’ve literally written two checks out of one book in the last six years.

Of course I could go on… local applications on computers, hard drives, dedicated digital cameras, fax machines, dedicated remote controls…  Most items in the tech sector including some brand new ones like 3D glasses.  However I don’t share some technologists sentiments that movie theaters, performance theaters and other live performance venues will be impacted.  Much like the Beatles had to perform live over 12,000 times before hitting the Ed Sullivan Show, I think (and hope) the music industry is going to make a swing back to live performance as the main source of revenue, not 99 cent downloads.   People are becoming too anti-social and complacent (i.e. boring) thanks to technology and this is not a trend I see future generations outside of the gaming community embracing.

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Who isn’t a “hero”?

This one’s gonna fire up the “Fox Holes”.  I might be chased down by patriots in pickup trucks covered in magnetic US flags made in China.

Today I thought of Chris Hayes, an MSNBC anchor who was forced to apologize for a statement he made in 2012 when he said he was uncomfortable using the word “hero” to describe all soldiers returning from active duty.  It’s an apology that was not necessary, pandering to the right all for the sake of media PR.  I’m pretty certain Chris Hayes isn’t genuinely sorry for his statement, nor should he be.  Veteran’s groups went crazy.  I suppose they feel all vets are “heroes”.  Pretentious arrogance anyone?

We are at a point where the word hero has become almost meaningless.  A young volunteer fire fighter who’s never been on a call to a fire: hero. A young EMT who’s never been on a triage call: hero.  Hey kids, want to be a hero?  Get any job in uniform.  Janitor may count at this point, not real sure.  Did I just compare our glorious men and women who serve in uniform to janitors?  Yes I did.  Because they serve in uniform.  Apparently that’s all it takes anymore to achieve “hero” status.  Many of today’s military “heroes” coming home from service were, in fact, janitors.  Stateside telecommunication personnel who saw the most action of their tour during basic training come out of the armed services instant hero’s.  I was at a college basketball game and actually heard an old man thank a young kid in uniform for “being a hero”.  Politely the kid said “thank you sir”.  I asked the kid, who was handing out brochures, what he did.  He was a stateside mechanic before becoming a recruiter.  Stay out of harms way there “hero”.

In the former Soviet Union the title of “Hero” was officially reserved.  If anyone was labeled a hero or called themselves a hero outside of state sanction there was a serious period of incarceration waiting for them.  to earn the title meant you actually had to do something heroic, like oh say… turn the tide of Nazi occupation during WWII.  The first Hero of the Soviet Union was Vasily Zaitsev who killed 225 enemy soldiers in 5 weeks.   Ya, he did a lot more than put on a government uniform and go to work.  So did those honored as hero’s from the US during that same era.  Perhaps for the sake of saving true hero’s from this soup of mediocrity we’ve concocted we should heed this lesson from the Stalinist, Communist era and quit abusing the only word we have in our language to elaborate true heroism.  Reserve it for the real hero’s and don’t dishonor them by equating them to janitors who passed basic training and put on a uniform to earn the honor.

Worst of all, we probably have recently discharged armed forces personnel running around the country right now who are full of themselves and their “hero” status despite having done nothing more than performing the duties of secretary or quarter master.  Many of them are returning to the states and going from “hero” to unemployed the minute they are discharged.  They should not embrace the word hero and we should not bestow it on them because unemployment wasn’t the case for those honored for true acts of heroism in previous generations.  We dishonor our nations true hero’s with our modern abuse of this word.

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Three Pieces of Legislation

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Three Pieces of Legislation

In light of the recent events in our dysfunctional Congress, this morning I presented a question to myself on the way to work: If I had to pick three pieces of legislation to be passed immediately that I thought would benefit all Americans what would they be?  Here’s what I came up with.  It turns out all of them would require constitutional amendments.

  1. A constitutional amendment dissolving Congressional approval for an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling subject to the repayment of those debt’s Congress has already incurred.
  2. A resolution to dissolve the Citizen’s United ruling and require full disclosure of the source and expenditures of all campaign dollars spent by any candidate running for public office.
  3. Repeal and replacement of the 26th amendment.  End the Electoral College and move to a national, popular vote for the President.
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September

For the first time since I started this blog almost 10 years ago I did not post for an entire month. That’s slack. I’ve gotta work on this site today. It’s stale and lame right now.

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Will the Authentec fingerprint scanner drive me to an iPhone? Just might.

In 2011 I raved about the Motorola Atrix.  One of it’s outstanding features was the built in fingerprint scanner for security made by Authentec.  Motorola licensed the technology from Authentec and it was exclusively available on the Atrix.  I actually walked around for over a month swiping my finger on the top of my Galaxy S3 out of habit after switching phones.

Fast forward to 2013.  Apple makes one of it’s most expensive hardware acquisitions ever, the purchase of Authentec. Now it is rumored that the upcoming iPhone 5s will incorporate this fingerprint scanner, causing an outcry from privacy advocates.  It also caused the Apple fans to proclaim that the scanner is a new addition to smart phones that will be copied by an Android device.  Never mind that an Android phone had it first.  I am not one who believes or cares that Apple may sell my fingerprints to the government.  Then again, I’m not a fool scared by government security practices that have been going on well before the advent of the smartphone.   Say, like acquiring call logs.

I’ve always said the downside to an iPhone was not the small screen but the lack of certain technologies such as NFC.  Now Apple may hold one technology I truly love on a phone.  Could the iPhone 5S be my next mobile device?   Will I finally give in and have my first God forsaken iTunes account?   Possibly.  I’ve got to wait and see what else the phone packs and if the GPS is worth a damn.  I am seriously locked in to the need for a high quality, very accurate GPS.  If they can get that part right I may carry my first iPhone soon.

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Everyone is sold on the 29er. Not me.

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Everyone is sold on the 29er. Not me.

I test rode a 29er on my usual single track a few days ago.  The trails are described as ideal for a 29er: medium to fast rolling with an average number of roots and very few climbs (the verdict is in on climbing – 26 kills it).  So I got the “between the wheels” feel right away.  It is in fact like sitting between two giant wheels.  Momentum was indeed very good.  Rolled over stuff smoothly.  Too smooth.  Felt like I was cheating the trail.  Until I hit a tight switchback, then it felt like I was going to fall over without some acrobatic handling.

So all in all the 29er was exactly what people claimed it would be.  And I HATED it.  Just like the 29er fan base is going to hate this… The very first thing I thought was, this is a great solution for anyone who can’t ride worth a shit.  If you don’t want to feel the trails, could care less about handling, become an even worse climber then a 29er is for you.  Need some help because you suck and get rattled easily?  Get a 29er. Meanwhile my 42 year old ass will be going past your expensive, now standard, bike shop justification.

Some bike shop goons have told me that if I’m really as good as my ego claims on a 26er then a 29er will just make me better.  That riding a 26 looks like I’m riding a kids bike.  Well to me the damn 29ers remind me of a mountain biker bringing a 26er to a BMX track.  Doesn’t quite seem made for the job.  Europeans, most of whom I’ve met and rode with generally seem a little less influenced by marketing, realize the incompatibility and limitations of the 29er feel and handling even with manufacturers working so hard on the geometry.  The 29er is a “rolling ride”.  To shred you must get the front wheel off the ground.  They roll over the roots and 9″ logs.  On my 26 I will clear them with zero interference to my flow and little speed reduction.

For really big guys, like 6′ 3″ and taller, I can see the lure of the 29er.  You might be tall enough to handle a frame size that will equate the geometry and handling to a 26.  At 5′ 10.5″ and 163 lbs. I am certain I do not fall into this category.  I am one of those who struggles with the geometry.

So what about the numerous podium finishes in the US on 29ers and the fact that they are being adopted everywhere on the US circuit?  My theory is that a good rider can train to ride anything for the right contract.  I have no such monetary influence forcing me to struggle to reproduce my working style on clown wheels.

Now the 650b…. hmmmmm.  Here we may be on to something.  As soon as a few more companies than Jamis have them readily available I will see if there is any real benefit to this middle ground.  They are steadily being adopted in Europe where, truth be told, the best, fastest riders in the world still compete.

The full suspension 29er has got to be a joke right?  Very few are going to have the mad skills necessary to keep from killing themselves on the clown wheels on the downhill.  I just have to laugh at the manufacturers for this insult to the market.  Mark this old mans words kids: If you’re riding a full suspension 29er on rolling single track you are the joke.

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Egypt is the center of the secular war.

It is time.  It has begun.  Slowly at first, growing internationally.  Those who do not want to be governed by religion are taking a stand.  Quran, bible it doesn’t matter.  Those in the world who do not want to be ruled by the loosely interpreted moral code of ancient texts are rising up.  Who can blame Egyptians for not wanting to be ruled by The Muslim Brotherhood?  I’m sure they want that as much as many Americans want to be governed by the Souther Baptist Association or any other version of the America Taliban.

Your religion is yours.  Not everyone else’s.  Do not force it upon others.  Do not judge others who do not embrace your religious code.  And NEVER, under any circumstances assume you may govern or pass laws based upon and standards of living dictated by your religious sect.  NC just passed legislation stating that no laws may be introduced to the state based on Sharia law.  Good but not far enough.  Add Christianity and we’ll be on the correct path.

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