Friday, November 30, 2001

Wow, I haven't posted in awhile.

Guess that's what happens when is so slow that I can't wait for it.

Anyhow, I saved the headlines I found interesting. Lucky you.

Credit Suisse First Boston was sneakily trying to make themselves money. Apparently they would give people pre-IPO if they would turn around and reinvest those profits immediately into other companies, through CSFB, at really expensive commissions. Whereas I'd pay Datek $9.99, they'd be paying $80,000. They were buying larger amounts of stock (Datek might charge more for that much stock), but they were charging a lot more.

Ford and Toyota are possibly going to work together on hybrid technology. I think this is smart. Everyone has to come up with it, but the R&D is really expensive. Especially with gas prices as low as they are (I paid $1.11 yesterday!), there's no immediate reason for them to build. But California's still saying that they expect zero-emissions at some point. I think that's as likely as HDTV or 911-triangulating cell phones, but eventually... the article also notes that Toyota might soon surpass Chrysler to become America's #3 automaker. Wow!

George Harrison died last night. He was pretty much before my time, but everyone's talking about it, so I suppose I would be remiss to leave it out.

I've always said it was dumb to use non-bank ATM's. And even then, only your own bank's ATM's. I never understood using public ATM's. They didn't seem as safe and several different banks lined up to rape you when it came to the fees involved in just getting your money. Which is why I've always advocated banking with a super-bank like Smells Fargo (my favorite), or Spank of America or Washington Screwuall (the worst bank in the world!) because they have ATMs everywhere. Well, turns out the Russian mob was operating a company that placed ATMs in delis and other convenience stores in New York. But the ATMs were all rigged. The mobsters were later able to get all the credit card numbers and PIN numbers out of the machines, print their own cards and make all kinds of withdrawals. They got caught, but it's a funny and clever idea. And even if some people go to jail, I doubt they recover all the money. So, in summary, I like the mob, using non-bank ATMs is dumb.

I read an interesting article. A poorly written article. An article that mostly read like a second grade book review. Where every paragraph starts the same. But in the parts where the book's content is discussed, it's kind of interesting. About how the music industry blew it. Because we all know the music industry blows.

People are already ripping apart their XBoxes. Which to me is cool. If it's going to become the centerpiece of a new entertainment system, eventually having a digital video recorder and stuff like that built in, why not figure out how to trick it out like you can a computer? People are already theorizing about how to add more memory and hard drive capacity, and finding that simple things like replacing some wiring make it run faster. Not to mention they're already building software to allow them to play multi-player games over the internet. I thought XBox was supposed to offer this, but...? Whatever. Rip the Xbox and make it better.

And a new study says that internet users watch less TV. They say that internet usage comes at a cost to television. I actually think that people without the internet are more easily entertained with the crap that people are putting out as television. I watch less TV. Because there's less worth watching and I feel guilty about how much I do watch. And even more than that, I record a lot of what I watch, and then watch it without commercials. Because commercials are lame.

Speaking of crap, ABC canceled Thieves. Sorry, uncle Jesse. Of course, I never watched the show, but isn't that half the battle, making it seem interesting enough to check out? How come Full House and Dukes of Hazard both had an uncle jesse? Were they trying to make Full House cooler?

And AOL can't weasel its way out of a lawsuit because it was automatically dialing in on long distance numbers without informing users. Who were getting giant phone bills. I thought this was what unscrupulous pornographers did. You probably got more bang for your buck from the porno people.

Weird stuff going on in Alaska, they're boiling the ionisphere in order to find underground structures on the other side of the planet.

And one last cool one... unmanned spy planes. Neat.

Happy Thanksgiving, belated.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Oh yeah... since you're asking... manifesto destiny was not a typo.
Hello. My big thing today is copycats. I think being a copycat is dumb.

Did you know that when you file for bankruptcy you can get rid of stuff that's costing you money? And if you're an airline, you can get your employees and unions to give up their contracts and raises and work for less? I think it's kind of lame, but they're predicting that within 6 months one or more airline will have filed for bankruptcy. And because it gives them better terms within which to work, that all the other lemmings will follow suit.

Speaking of stupid lemmings, GM just announced that it's going to extend its 0% interest into next year. This is dumb because last month car buying jumped 24%. Eventually everyone who wants a new car will have one. And then the companies will be in a world of hurt. But in a way, this is what GM is counting on. They're hoping that they can seriously hurt Ford and their other competitors because their other competitors can't afford to do the 0% financing as long as GM can. (Or they'll get their competitors to agree to it only to back out, like Amazon did, effectively screwing Barnes and Noble on free shipping. Ha!) Anyhow, if you can't afford to sell cars with 0% interest, don't do it. Just that simple. People will still buy your cars if they're cooler looking than the ones from GM. On the other hand, GM got Bob Lutz from Chrysler, so expect some really cool stuff from GM in the next few years because Bob Lutz is a genius.

This is weird but cool... we've often talked about why they keep old diseases around. The kind that could cripple the planet, but that we've figured out how to tame. Well, it turns out that if you mess around with small pox and modify it, you get a cure for cervical cancer. How cool is that?

I think the European Union is really stupid. Really, really stupid. Or at least anticompetitive. And stupid Levi Strauss are big whiny crybabies who would perform the political equivalent of a lapdance on the collective fat cats in the EU for favorable treatment. What am I talking about? A supermarket chain(?) in Europe was annoyed at how much it cost to buy Levis to sell in their stores. So they started buying the jeans from the United States and shipping them there. Great, capitalism at work. Well, Levi's cries foul and sues. Now the stores are not allowed to buy their jeans from anywhere else. I think that's just incredibly lame. Lame lame lame lame!

Safeweb shut down today or recently. A moment of silence, please. Ok, that's enough. As cool as it was, it was sponsored by the CIA and did include advertising, so it couldn't have been completely "da bomb." Who knows what the CIA gleaned from us in exchange for believed secrecy while surfing?

George Will had a good piece in Newsweek about how despite the terrorist attacks, things are doing quite nicely, thankyouverymuch. Separate yet interesting fact... the number of people killed in traffic accidents between September 12 and November 12 was more than the number of people killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

And more great news... no one's going to seriously think about hiring until March or April. The stock market has been up anyhow, but a lot of that might be tied back to the cheap gas or the 7.1% jump in spending in October, much of that related to car sales. Which means we're probably not out of the woods yet.

I read this great article the other day that I can't find now. But it talks about how cheap gas is bad. They say that people will travel more even if they can't afford it, they say that it means less money for a region of the world (the middle east) already rife with struggle because they have nothing but sand and the gasoline they can sell, it means less incentive to conserve or to do research into future conservation and more people doing more uneccesary driving creating more polution. I really wish I could find that article because there was more stuff. On the other hand, I'm driving several hundred miles this weekend, so I'm thankful for the cheaper gas.

So, this is from yesterday... Blogger wasn't allowing publishing.

So, what's your Viking name?

Here's mine... predictable to say the least.... Jón Stronghorse
Your Viking Personality: You're a fearsome Viking, but you aren't completely uncivilized. The other Vikings make fun of you for that. You have a thirst for battle, and tend to strike first and think later. You might be able to hold your own on the battlefield, but you're no "berserker".

A long sea voyage aboard a Viking longboat would be difficult for you, but you might be able to manage it. Other Vikings consider you "one of the guys".

People who've known you for a while don't always trust your word. You sometimes come off as a bit of a snob. Vikings are not snobbish people -- they either like you, or they kill you. Try to be more like a Viking.

Philips is coming out with a stereo that has effortless internet access for tuning into internet radio, far radio stations and playing MP3's off a near-by computer. My first impression... yeah right... My second impression... yawn! My third impression... it'll be great, it will develop a real following. Then they will cancel the project. (I love my Philips Nino.)

Want a free video screen and a 100 gig hard drive? You'll be able to steal one from a bus stop near you soon, if someone else hasn't smashed the screen. I mean, I know everyone is trying to do their part to realize the vision of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element with non-stop advertising everywhere. (There was advertising on that little piece of cardboard under the Reeses Peanut Butter cups the other day.) But how dumb an idea is this? At least in LA, where they actually have bus stops, if they can't detach the video device quickly enough, they'll just load the entire booth into their truck to disassemble later in private.

Only people that want to charge for content are still reporting this as news: people don't want to pay for content online. DUH DUH DUH DUH DUH. Sheesh. This is so dumb. Especially when the survey was made up of 1,300 people. I'm sorry, but that's incredibly lazy. Almost as bad as the Neilsens.

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Hello... haven't really had anything of interest to post in a few days, so I haven't posted. Well, the big news is that I've given up Buffy and Angel. At one time I enjoyed these shows, but I'm not thrilled with the direction these shows have taken. Unfortunately, I've also had less opportunity to be in contact with my Buffy friends and I haven't even bothered to check out the UPN website. Ok, I looked at it once, out of curiosity, but it made me sad to look at. Bright red really didn't seem appropriate.

Life seems to be calmly progressing forward. It's uneventful and at moments I have fleeting panic and worry about the rut I seem to be in. I'm making money, but I'm not working full time. I'm paying bills, but I'm borrowing a little at a time from savings. My apartment is really nice, I like the work I'm doing, but it feels like much of the same... get up, go to work. Come home, play on the computer, watch TV. Maybe take a walk or work out. Do it all over again. But the weather is nice and I have great music to listen to in the car. Is something missing? Or do I just have too much free time? I mean, life is really great. Nothing to complain about. But nothing major is happening. Maybe it's that much of my current job is maintenance work on the computers while I wait for this big upgrade and move that will unleash the ability to do to much more, to learn much more and to make some new and impactful statements for all to see?

So, here's a question... how do I change the color of my archive link? Is this in my style-guide, or...? Any super bloggers out there who can help me? I'd really appreciate it.

And to anyone else reading my work, what do you think? Is the new site too plain? Too boring? Too ugly?

A while back, I read stories about the phone companies whining. Seems that the phone system was designed for people to make calls, talk to people for awhile and then get off. But the second phone lines people were ordering were for computers which they'd leave dialed in for hours. The nerve of the customers, to use the product they paid for. Sheesh. Well, now the phone companies are whining again. People are cancelling second lines in record numbers. Some because of the economy and some because they're getting high-speed DSL lines. But don't the phone companies have a majority of the DSL subscribers? Seems like they're just happiest when they're whining.

Also, more and more people are moving towards electronic payments (credit cards, etc.) There's nothing worse than being in line at the grocery store behind someone who wants to write a check.

You'd think this was a story on how technology can help stores become more efficient and make more sales. I think it instead speaks to the clueless of people who work at The Gap. Apparently they're tagging all the jeans with little radio transmitters to help them find them quicker in the store.

Have you ever wished you could type on your desk without a keyboard? No? Me neither. Well, I do think it would be cool if the keyboard could be projected into the air, along with the screen, so I could lay in bed and use the computer, but I assume that'll take years. In the meantime, this company has figured out a way for you to use any surface as a keyboard with little gloves you slip on to your fingers. It sounds interesting, but how the heck do you know where the keys are? Is there a little mat you lay out on the desk or something?

Surprise, surprise... new survey finds most unwilling to pay for content on the internet. DUH! DUH DUH DUH DUH!

And AOL's about to have a few more haters... Rumor is, they're about to fire some more people.

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Ok, three trends are becoming apparent... (1) my ability to delete my own work by pressing the wrong button... (2) Mercedes.... (3) Sony Aibo.

Anyhow, Mercedes is playing around with this thing they call InfoFueling. Instead of (or as an alternative to or maybe to supplement), it's localized quick bursts of info. It's cheaper to broadcast traffic conditions to people on the road than to everyone. As for ordering music to play in the car? What's up with people's pipe dreams that people want to buy music the way they do newspapers? If anything, I'd like to rent music for a few months until I get bored with it and then get much of my deposit back, like when you sell used CD's. But I digress... the more fun story is that some researchers are trying to teach a Sony Aibo to talk. I like Sony.

And what do COOL, EGGS and WBVN have in common? Lost dreams. And now for something completely different... it's time to shave those beards and dig up those VCR's... I think the Gap should make turbans popular so that stupid people who like stereotypes can't so easily classify those that they would love to oppress. C'mon kids, let's get on the turban craze!

One more links and then I'm done for awhile. I swear... I could never be pregnant. Certainly not with four kids. Certainly not with two different birthdates. I hear it's really rare. But seriously, how do they figure stuff out like this? I mean, what if the wrong kid comes out when she's having contractions? They can't very well tell the kid to "get back in there". I tell my cat to go to bed and it mouths off at me. It goes into its room, but if I don't close the door, it comes right back out again. And besides, if a baby came out and had to go back in, would it really want to come out again? When instead it could stay inside where it was warm and comfortable? Or do they cut the mom open and pick the one they want to take out? What am I talking about? A woman I feel sorry for.

Dude, go home! They'd say that if there was anyone else left here. I welcome your emails on how I can improve the style of this thing. Should I give up and go back to one of the Cheesy(tm) Built-In Style Guides?

Monday, November 12, 2001

Tablet PC's are coming. I think they'll be cool. I hope it's not the fact that I used to watch Star Trek that makes tablets appealing but instead the promise of mobility.

Sony's releasing a new AIBO. I happen to think it's incredibly ugly. It looks too much like an evil robot. I like these because they are anti-evil looking. Of course, some times it's the fluffy bunnies that are the most dangerous, eh Anya? Ditto Monty Python.

And will we ever see HDTV? Or even DTV?

I feel I should add an addendum. An American Airlines plane crashed in New York this morning. It came to rest in a section of town where a number of fireman (they say "dozens") who died in the Sept. 11 tragedy used to live. The stock market dipped a little bit but recovered after it became apparent that it was an isolated incident. It sucks that planes crash, but when things go up, sometimes they come down in the wrong place. The first time the radio came on, there was music. After the snooze, the DJ was talking really somber about a crash and about how they should try to be entertaining, giving box office stats in a monotone depressing voice. It's a weird world we live in these days.
Wow... having one of these just makes you feel like you should have the power to tell why you're right and everyone else is wrong, huh?

Kind of like your manifesto destiny. And on top of that, if someone disagrees with you, you can just tell them to "Blog off" I still love this word... it's like a fake new curse word like Conan O'Brien's "crunk" or whatever it was. Ah, back in the days when I stayed up that late. It's gray outside and cold in here. It's mid-November and I'm already having those Christmas-holiday-burnt-out feelings.

Well, I've taken a moment off from work to come on here and post a few headlines that I found to be interesting. As luck would have it, it looks like the internet connection is going down. In my last job, that was the time to go back on the clock and save the break-time for when the internet was working. Of course, then there was a big huge merger and my job was deemed unnecessary. So now I make my own time, keep my own books and will eventually have to pay my own taxes. Good thing I'm not working too much.

So, here's the interesting news... Clear Channel, which owns, like, every single radio station is now going to allow you to buy music over the internet to listen to. And Lexus wants to bribe people to watch their commercials. A neat enough idea in theory, but if I had TiVo, I might be willing to consider participating. I don't know that it would really influence my decision to buy a Lexus, in that they cost way too much (though I have been known to drool over them unhealthily), but a chance to win a Lexus? Pretty cool. Personally, I hate commercials. If I could get the third VCR working correctly, I could pretty much tape everything and watch it all while skipping the commercials. Lastly, MSNBC has another article about oil and SUV's and conservation. You're probably thinking "been there, done that", but it's got some interesting things to note.

TV Guide has a good article on how they hope Friends will end this season. I couldn't agree more. Don't do the Mad About You death march. Please. And a Tennis Channel? But they have yet to launch my All Pursuit Network idea... all car chases, all the time. As always, more great headlines on TV Barn.

Malcolm in the Middle will get an hour-long episode after the Superbowl....saw Monsters, Inc. yesterday and I think I liked it better than Toy Story (I'm sorry, I'm sorry!)...Was it merely a coincidence that Jane Kaczmarek was on the Simpsons last night as a judge who lived on a houseboat only to be followed by an episode of Malcolm in the Middle where they took a vacation on a houseboat?

One last quick question... how come when we were kids we could just go over to our friends house and hang out? Maybe watch some cartoons, play some video games or Uno and just chill? And now-a-days you have to have a plan in advance, you change shirts, comb your hair, make sure you've got your wallet, keys, cell phone, organizer and that you've turned off lights, set your IM to away and then have to drive 10-20 minutes to see your friends for a pre-established dinner or movie viewing? Is it the pace of life or just the facts of getting older? Because if it's the facts of getting older, I hate it. Way too much planning involved. We're not even penciling you in these days, we're looking for a free time-slot on our handhelds. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 06, 2001

Well, day 2. Gotta say I'm glad I don't normally have an excessive commute. Tonight I drove 10 miles in 12 minutes. Then I drove another 20 miles in 80 minutes. *sigh* I was mostly ok, until I got stuck amidst a bunch of stupid trucks. They should be banned from the roadway during rush hour. It seems like it would benefit everyone. To be sure, that's an incredibly simplistic viewpoint and would really torque off truck drivers. Any truck drivers out there?

I'm watching a news report on TV about a truck tracking system. It tracks big rigs and now they're making it so that if you disable it, it disables the truck. I'm sure that wouldn't stop anyone really determined, but it's pretty interesting.

Today was abnormal so I didn't follow the same tech news or even regular news, so no news links yet to paste to. Lunch was also detrimental to my diet and I was so tired when I got home that I didn't do any exercise. I think I'm going to go lift a little bit, but that's going to be the extent of my exercise.

Mercedes has a commercial where kids sing "Happy Fun Land." I think that Steven Spielberg should sue, because in Tiny Toons' "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," Hampton and Plucky go to Happy Fan Land.

And Sprint PCS... they have a commercial where a family wants to go to Steamboat Springs but due to static on their cellular phone, they end up in Palm Springs. Do they make the best of it? Noo... they try to make snow angels in the sand and trundle around in full snow gear. Silly people. Of course, having had a Sprint PCS phone, I know the conversation with the travel agent would have gone more like "Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?" BEEP BEEP BEEP.Then you redial and if it goes through they hear something like "Hi ..... z .... can .... kets .... spree ..." Sorry, but I'll take static anyday over that horrible cutting out effect. Although I have Verizon so I don't have cut outs or static. Besides, what kind of idiots are these family? Did they not check their tickets? Did they not hear the airline announcements and question that maybe they're on the wrong plane? And who, when they find out they're in sun instead of snow bemoan it? Silly, silly people.

Ok, time to go lift.

Monday, November 05, 2001

Huh. Lesson 1. Save your data before hitting the "settings" button. Good to know.

Well, let's start this puppy up again from square one and see where it leads us.

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I think I like the word blog. Reminds me of both blob and blah. I'll try to make sure this doesn't end up being either.

All you need to know about me will be revealed in good time. I'm not sure yet what I'll cover, or if I'll give this a serious go before I tire of it. Hopefully with this incredibly simple format, I'll be able to continue this. But continue it why? Well, I feel like I have something to say. I always feel like I have something to say. Unfortunately, I don't always have someone around who wants to hear it. (Often, I have people around who don't want to hear it, but are just unlucky.)

Now, I can have my little corner in cyberspace and I won't necessarily know if no one's heard it. I have a feeling that my posts will be eclectic mixes of things that I've read throughout the day that I find interesting. That and anything that casts America Online in a bad light. I'm not a big fan of theirs. But I'm unfortunately a stockholder. So maybe it's best if no one does read my blog, lest I affect my own holdings negatively. Of course, I kid. I don't think I have the power to actually sway any control over the world's largest monopoly... yet.

I think I've written enough for an introduction. I guess we'll see where this thing takes us.