Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Lori got in a car accident this evening. She's fine. It was pretty minor. Well, unless you look at her poor little car. I feel bad for her. She's a little sore and mostly just annoyed with herself. But it means another setback in our desire to get a house; another piece of the IRS refund that won't make it to the bank. She called me when I was still at work and I knew before she said anything. As soon as she got off the phone I folded my hands, bowed my head and thanked God she wasn't hurt.
There has been absolutely nothing that I would consider interesting in the news lately.

Sure, AOL's writing off the last of its merger costs in one fell swoop (instead of the original amortization schedule) which means it will have the biggest loss for a quarter of any company, ever. But even that doesn't seem that important. I'm resigned to the fact that my options will never be worth anything. Much like the promises and assurances and sincerity of my former co-workers.

It's not the best of days. I've had some set-backs recently. They're all, when you think about it, insignificant and I can simply shake them off as quickly as shaking my head and I'm almost complete with that process.

But I also didn't sleep well last night. It wasn't stress or any of the usual factors, just outside influences like purring cats who are just too darned loud and stuff like that. So while I don't necessarily feel tired, I feel a little down.

I am glad it's spring. I've ridden my bike around the block a few times in the evenings after getting home from work and I've had a chance to watch them dig a giant crater. Some sleuthing on the internet has turned up indications that they're building a huge new community of apartments or condos pretty close to where we live. I will enjoy watching the construction process.

So that's about it from here.

Monday, March 25, 2002

So I had all these articles lined up last week that you should read. But I apparently didn't save the list. (You're welcome.)

So, instead...

Sprint PCS sucks in Colorado

Sprint PCS sucks in Providence

Friday, March 22, 2002

The place where I come from is a small town
They think so small, and use small words
But not me, I'm smarter than that, I worked it out
I've been stretching my mouth
To let those big words come right out

(Thanks again Kevin for the CD)

Monday, March 18, 2002

Save those cans and strings
The telecom industry is somewhat screwed, and somewhat screwed up. An interesting look at how eroding profit margins, increased competition, looming debt and expensive maintenance is hurting all telecommunications companies.

Big Four is more like it
Andersen should throw in the towel now. And Arthur himself might want to think about a name change.

Chicken and Electricity Trading, it's all the same
One of my favorite restaurants, Boston Market, was an Andersen client. They say that Andersen helped them into the same mess that Enron's now been helped into. (Though Boston Market wasn't making deals with the Jedi council and crap like that.)

Flexcar: A car when you need it, not when you don't.
An interesting idea...

But here's what I find the most interesting...
What does a happy spread-eagled person with a detached head have to do with cars? But then again, what does it have to do with cell phones?

101 Dumbest Moments in Business
This is a hillarious article. If you read nothing else, read this... on your lunch break, it's long

CBS wins the week
and as a side note, Sally Jessy Raphael's been cancelled. Didn't realize she was still alive.

Sprint PCS sucks in Houston

Free AOL sparks new worries
Apparently, while charging people $24 a month for service, they're giving so much away that the average revenue is only about $17 or $18 per subscriber. Which has analysts worried. (I'm sorry, but that's still $578,000,000 in revenue A MONTH.)
How are people getting all the free months?
We actually pay for a subscription to AOL for my wife's mom. AOL sucks (and it took us 45 minutes to come up with a name that wasn't taken), but it was the best, easiest option. And that's why they succeed. But we're going to get her on MSN pretty soon, and when we do, I'll cancel another credit card -- AOL's known for continuing to charge people after they've unsubscribed, so we use this credit card just for AOL.

And AOL's got some friends on the inside...

PC's rule the pad
My favorite MSNBC reporter Jane Weaver looks into the disappearance of stereos from modern dorm rooms and a culture of music theft.

Why the Microsoft monopoly will continue to exist
A good, fair look into why Microsoft succeeds where others fail and why lawsuits against them are useless.

Picture of the Year nominees
Bear eating salmon
Plane heading for south tower
Fire Department Chaplain's body - this guy was the first casualty of 9/11, he was crushed by falling debris while giving last rites to his fellow firefighters.
Elephant - the grieving elephant is working with a trainer after its life-long companion dies
And more pictures...
Elk herding - these are federal wildlife agents tranquilizing elk to be transported to another location where the elk population is dwindling (to try to bring it back.)
Towers of light - in memory of 9/11

AOL's biggest advertiser? AOL
When I was at Warner Bros., we laughed at the funny money. Someone wanted a website done? They came to us. We charged them for it. Not real money, but we got to count it as revenue. Then, we needed business cards, so the print shop on the lot charged us. Suddenly, it was funny money times two. An interesting article on how companies (not just AOL) sell to themselves.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Hey, all. It's a quick hit today. Things have been busy and I am running on no sleep. More some other time.

So, I watched the collin Quinn show... was boring and borderline offensive. I see Lorne Michaels is Exec. Producing and Tina Fey gets writer credit. So it's sort of an SNL spin-off, I guess.


There's a sucker born every minute...
AOL surpasses 34 million paying subscribers
(Then why does their stock still suck?)

Sit, Dave, Sit
David Letterman announces he's staying on at CBS.

Hacking with a Pringles Can
Sorry, I just can't come up with a better headline than the BBC.

Kids welcoming their soldier dad home
Kids whose dad won't come home
John Woo would be proud...

Toyota launches Scion
Toyota will launch an all-new car brand to try to reach the youngest drivers. Basically, more Echo-like vehicles.

Since September 11, what's changed?
An interesting article.

IRS goes after tax dodges
This would have been a good scam if I had found out about it earlier... seems to pay a lawyer on an island with lax tax laws to open an account for you at a bank. The bank issues you a Mastercard. The money to pay for the card comes from the bank (you just send the lawyer more money every so often). Your bill gets mailed to the lawyer's post office box and he just shreds it. You never see a bill, the card is probably not even in your name. You're not stealing from anyone... unless you funded the account with unreported earnings. The IRS says that there's a lot of that going on and they're going after people now.

Sprint sucks in Dallas/Ft. Worth

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Almost a day later and things seem far different. I worked hard today. Well, as hard as one can reformatting content on a website.

But it rained last night. It rained hard. It made a great sound on the roof and today everything looked shiny and bright. The air was clear. The rain is supposed to return tonight at around the same time and stay for about as long as it did yesterday night. Fortunately, I get to stay home tonight.

I had a nice talk with my wife last night on the drive home and I feel a lot better about where things are. I don't feel as bad about my underemployment and I don't feel jealous or envious. I'm back to being happy for our friends with houses. Soon enough we'll have our own house. And a big screen TV! The new house will be great. It'll be smaller than some of our friends, but that means less to paint, less wood-working and trim to make, and so on. I'm re-reading "Building the Not-So-Big House," a book I bought last year. It's full of great ways to make a smaller space seem larger and it points to the California bungalows of Pasadena -- done in the craftsman style -- for inspiration. Basically, at the time that the mansions were being built in Pasadena, the workers were also building their own homes. Skilled craftsmen, they would work during the day on the grand mansions and then in the evenings work on their own homes. While small, the homes boast intricate details and expert craftsmanship. Our home will have that same feel, because we will put a lot of love and work into it.

And it's Thursday already. This week has felt long, mostly because I don't think I've been getting enough sleep. So tonight I'll watch a lot of TV and go to bed earlier than usual and tomorrow is doughnut day.

I think yesterday I used the world malcontent incorrectly. I was trying to be tricky and it didn't work.

And now, what I think you should know...

AOL's Enron game
Off the books, AOL's been using Genuity's dial-up to support its 30 million customers. Genuity is a dial-up provider that basically only serves AOL. It was spun off from GTE before they became Verizon. But it's losing money fast and by the end of the year should be out of money. AOL's been able to keep this investment off the books. However, if Genuity dies, AOL says it can find a new provider cheaper. Can it?

Lockheed on strike
Lockheed employees say that the company expects to have a great year thanks to 9/11 but that it's not letting the money trickle down to them.

United not on strike

Well, uh, hmmm... ok
States change their tune... slightly... on Microsoft

Neuter this
If the entertainment companies have their way, this will be the crappiest country in the world to live if you like entertainment.

ABC News Mess
Cokie out, Barbara Walters mad, Koppel bummed.
Dan Rather and others say "Keep Koppel"

Sprint PCS sucks in Chicago
(Kevin says I should also mention that Nextel sucks in Hollywood.)

Riding the light to data theft
You know those little blinky lights on the back of your computer next to the ethernet connection? Apparently it's sort of a morse-code of the data coming across the network. It's not easy, but people could eavesdrop from another building if they have line-of-site access to the back of your computer. (There's also a threat if your monitor faces a window, apparently.)

Sit on it
ABC's dumb*ss game show, The Chair, is history.

Some petty criminal gets sentanced to "No TV" for 10 months. Guess that will give him more time to perform internet credit card fraud and identity theft.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Well, I do like the new look of my blog. I stole it from some other site, but toned the colors way down. I think it's nice looking. Anyhow, I said I was leaving for the night. bye.
It's getting gray outside. They were predicting we'd see rain by 5 p.m. I haven't seen any rain yet, but I've been watching it get darker and darker all day. You can no longer see the mountains. Lately we've been able to see the mountains. The smog isn't as bad here. It's also getting darker here and soon all will be pitch black.

I've been wondering if my blog is all I set it out to be. I'm not really thinking of folding it, but I'm wondering if I should take time to be a little more thoughtful. I do like the headlines, at least two people regularly use them as the basis for long emails to me. Those are thought provoking and I don't always get a chance to respond as completely as I'd like, but I do know that it is being read.

Yesterday, some guy won the Republican State Primary for California. I'm not sure which, if any of those words -- except California -- really need to be capitalized. The guy who won supposedly took $10 million from the current governor, a democrat, for use in TV ads, bashing his main rival, the former mayor of Los Angeles. To be fair, the former mayor hasn't been consistent in his stance and had the worst slogan ever... "The candidate Gray Davis fears the most." Gray Davis is the governor of California.

And I came to something I think I've pretty much known about myself for some time but wasn't sure I was willing to admit. I absolutely do not care one bit about politics. My vote doesn't matter and what's the point, really? The only election I would have even cared about was the presidential and that was all bogus and I still don't understand that electoral college thing. It's all conspiracy theory fodder to me.

Is there anyone from Russia on this list? Is there a "Junkyard Wars" TV show over there? They had a expanded edition recently that featured contestants from Russia, the US and the UK. I felt bad for the Russians... they were smart, earnest and hard-working, but they seemed out matched. I was wondering if they had the prep time like the other teams or if they were just thrown in and expected to swim.

I am looking forward to the rain. I hope it will let loose a torrential river. It will make clear the air, help the plants to grow and be a change. It'll also cause car accidents, but that's the one good side to selective application of Darwinism. The crappy drivers will get off the road. And with any luck, they won't hit me on their way to the guardrail.

Lately it's been much of the same. I need a change. I've grown bored. Don't get me wrong, there are lots that I'm really excited about. I enjoy my work, I love hanging out with my wife. I like driving my car and playing with the cats. I enjoy going to Disneyland and church is energizing. But I'm feeling restless. Something needs to happen. But I don't know what. And I know it's up to me to make it happen. I just can't tell if it's boredom, a lack of energy or my struggle to not be jealous of people who seem to have more than me. I don't exactly mean material, but to some degree maybe I do. I'm seeking contentment and it is occasionally elusive.

Time to head out. Perhaps I'm not malcontent, if that word is even correctly used. I used to be smart and know words and stuff. Then I went to college and forgot everything. *sigh* I hope everyone's having fun and I'll probably soon join you. Perhaps I'm just tired. I want to stay home tonight... I don't want to debate some dumb book that I'm not enjoying, but I feel the obligation. Or perhaps it's the weather being all gray and dark. If it would just rain I could sit and listen to it and watch it stream down the windows. Bring on the rain.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Hello all... short one today because I'm swamped with other stuff...

Anyhow, just a few headlines...

Seems there was a time when the question was "Will they build it? Won't they build it?" Now the question is "Why won't the first convertible PT Cruiser be available before 2004?" I saw a "Woody" edition today. Fun stuff.

To hear the entertainment industry tell it, we're all wrong. we will accept what we are force fed and we won't view or listen to it again without paying again... and again... and again... if the entertainment industry has their way, there won't be any more good content and your money will go towards keeping your existing TV's and VCR's working.

Sodomizing Cops go free
I don't know which is more disgusting. What they did to that poor guy, or the fact that three of the four will go free. And I don't understand why the Taliban hate us.

The big-five consulting firms are on their way to becoming the big-four. The way they see it, Andersen's just as bad as Enron and they're seeking to distance themselves.

A great day at F*CKED COMPANY, no doubt...
F*cked Company's arch-nemesis, Pasadena's own IdeaLabs is being sued. By lots of people and companies. Will these people never learned? I mean, it's one thing to play the bank in Monopoly and give yourself forgivable interest-free loans, but do you want to do anything that could cause you to be accused of it in real life? Or do people just think that everyone else is stupid?

Have some free ad time... in fact, have some free cash...
ABC and Fox are having to do quite a bit of "make goods" to advertisers who were promised a level of viewership that the networks then were unable to deliver. Rumors are that ABC's even passing out cash because they're all booked between the paids and the make goods that they can't even do all the makegoods.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the ABC Mail Truck...
ABC's decided it's their turn to have a piece of Letterman. They're apparently trying to woo him, but someone forgot to tell the Nightline staff. Oops.

Amazing view
I forgot to mention that the Meercats in the picture the other day were huddling together for warmth and the one with his mouth open was yawning. Today's picture is guys being airlifted off the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Drink up, me hearties yo ho
(Ok, that sound better sung than it looks written.) NBC's trying to get Jack Daniels as a sponsor. And is Smirnoff still a sponsor? No ads in over a month and no new ad time purchased, but no denial, either.

It wasn't bad enough before?
Pop-unders, those lame ads that open and then immediately hide behind your other windows until you close all the ones in front of it, are about to get much worse... an advertising company has come up with a new kind... it pops-under and then waits... as soon as you close all the other windows, full motion video and audio starts playing. That's gonna suck!

No more Windows?
It's highly unlikely that Microsoft will stop selling Windows, but they're threatening to, saying that the demands by the remaining nine loser states would make it not in their stockholder's best interests to continue selling Windows. I say they just stop selling Windows in those nine states.

Patently False Rumor - Help Me Spread It
REDMOND, Wash. - Microsoft announced today that it would stop selling Microsoft Windows in nine states, including Massachussets, Connecticut and California. The unusual move was made after the states made what CEO Steve Ballmer described as "unreasonable demands."

Microsoft (MSFT, Quotes, News, up 0.03 at $63.11) recently settled a lawsuit filed by the Federal Government, accusing Microsoft of using predatory practices against its competition. While not admitting that it was a monopoly, Microsoft settled with the court and will make modifications to its flagship Windows program and agreed to alter some of its business practices.

However, nine states felt that the settlement was not strict enough and have refused to accept the settlement, making additional demands. Among those were requirements that Microsoft provide third-party solutions for voice recognition, hand-held syncronization, photo imaging and directory programs.

"We have spent considerable time and effort to develop a all-inclusive and robust operating system. And we think we have that in Windows XP," said Ballmer. "To disect the program and remove some of its organs would surely cause the operating system to break or stop working as well as it currently does."

Analyst Jeff Johnson, who watches Microsoft for Merril-Lynch agreed. "Consumers are not locked into Microsoft. Just because Windows XP comes with the software for syncing to devices running Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system doesn't mean that it won't work for handhelds using the Palm operating system. To remove these components from Windows XP and offer them separately would only create confusion and added costs to the consumer."

Bill Lockyer, Attorney General for California disagreed. "I have constituents to look out for. 3Com [makers of the Palm operating system] is a California company. Microsoft is not."

"This is just a disaster," said Kirk Michaels of nationwide consumer electronics chain Circuit City. "We might as well stop selling computers in these nine states. Our average customer will want to buy a PC without Microsoft Windows installed. This will severly hurt our bottom line." Circuit City's stock was down 8% on the news.

"This is bad news for us," said HP spokesman Erin McKenzie. "We are considering relocating to a Microsoft-friendly state. Especially after this merger with Compaq, sales of personal computers with the Windows operating system on it will be important to our survival." HP stock was down 2% on the news.

By Monday, all copies of Microsoft Windows will be removed from store shelves in those nine states. Users with Microsoft Windows will be able to get support from Microsoft for 90-days. After that point, official Microsoft support for Windows will not be available to users in those nine states.

Friday, March 01, 2002

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah is offering "normalized relations" between Israel and all of the other Arab countries if Israel will pull back to the land they were originally given. (I think? It may otherwise be just giving up the land they took over in the 60's? Sorry I'm not more clear. Kevin will probably write and clarify.) In any case, Israel said it was interested. I suspect that it's more likely that Israel shouted, since it was probably pretty loud when they were busy killing and wounding Palestinians yesterday.

I'm not guilty, but...
If someone comes to you and offers a deal... if you don't get mad at me, I have something I need to tell you, then right away, you get mad. Right away you know they've done something wrong. Two senior Enron officials are trying to get immunity in exchange for their testimony. I think they should be told "Uh, yeah, we'll take the death penalty off the table if you want to talk." And until then, remove fingernails on a machine that does it really, really, really slowly.

Sure, let us pay for it...
I feel bad for the Enron people who lost pensions. No more sitting at home without working. I'm sorry, but the company was formed in 1986 or so, wasn't it? Just how many people have been with the company long enough to get pensions? And how come those of us -- many unemployed ourselves -- are going to have to foot the bill? Make Kenneth Lay pay it. Bastard. (Yes, I still think that KPMG is a bunch of bastards, too.)

Since when did they grow some?
I must have missed it when someone finally admitted this was a recession and not a "downturn" or "Correction." I guess it was announced just in time to announce that the recession was dead. Oh yeah? Prove it.

Recession? What recession?
28,000 more H1B visas were approved in October, November and December of last year. Ok, question... don't we have a 5.6% unemployment rate currently? And lots of people from other countries that we can't find or track? Stop letting people in!

Eat me!
Put my picture on a cake and then eat the cake. How bizarre. This seems like something that would be well suited for naked women... naked women on cakes for bachellor parties and stuff like that. Though I assume that they wouldn't let you do that.

Lara Croft could kick Britney's...
Britney Spears is starring in a new (lame) video game. Actually... Angelina and Britney in a cat fight would probably go over really well in Tomb Raider II.

Yeah, I've got a swiss bank account
Have you ever wanted to say that? Me and Monika were curious about that the other day, so I did some digging. Apparently it's not as easy as it looks to get one, and it will cost you to keep it. But, if you're interested, here's some links.

Video killed the telephone star
You know? I had an entirely different take on this article until I wrote that headline. Sprint PCS says it will soon allow you to send pictures from your phone. The article doesn't mention it, but it seems to me the most killer app would be the one that lets you see the person you're talking to. You get a headset to talk into and then hold the phone out in front of your face. A camera beams your picture to their phone while your screen shows them. I think that would be cool. And then I went and wrote that headline and suddenly I'm thinking that this could be a big boon to the porn industry. (Ok, so now I've mentioned porn, nudity and a cat fight. And I'm writing these headlines from a computer at church. Shame on me.)

Press "Yes" or "Yes"
People are complaining that AOL is shipping them junk and billing them for it. I've only dialed in to AOL once or twice. But I know that when you dial in to AOL, it involves clicking No to an average 56 offers to buy crap. The kind of crap that you can get for "free" from your credit card company, if you want to pay the $15 in shipping and handling. People are claiming that they pressed "no" and got stuff shipped to them anyway. And they're suing. They're suing for the right to get to keep the stuff, but not pay for it. C'mon people... that's pretty darn lame, even for an AOL-hater like myself.

Hubble upgrade
On the news this morning they were singing "Tiny Hubbles." It wasn't funny at all. It was quite lame. (Kevin thinks it's funny that I watch channel 5's morning news. Actually I don't, Lori does. She says I can't watch the "skanks" on channel 11 anymore.) Anyhow, I'm completely off-topic. The last of the original parts of the Hubble telescope are being replaced. It's nice to know it was at least built in such a way that pieces can be swapped in and out as the technology improves.

Congratulations to Conan O'Brien!
Conan O'Brien just got his contract extended, twice as much money, and they're thinking about rebroadcasting the show on another cable channel at an earlier time. Which I'm totally for. He's great, but I'm not as young as I used to be.

The view from down here...
This guy races nitro cars. The really fast and really expensive little cars. He hooked up a wireless camera on one of his cars so you can watch movies of the car racing. Kinda neat.

Brand Loyalty
How much does it cost to acquire a new customer? Companies are finally realizing that it's much cheaper to keep your existing customers. Here's an article on that:
Here's a list of the top brands:

We're not your father's Disney store
Disney's redoing all their stores. Actually, they're sort of closing all their existing stores and reopening new stores. (Though it'll seem more like a re-name and a re-model.)

Go away! Stop it stop it stop it!
Popups and popunders are here to stay. That's because you (not me) keep clicking on them. Stop clicking on them! tvjames x blogspot is popup free. Not because I have any control, but because who'd want to advertise on this piece of junk?

Not gonna type "I told you so"...
Car sales are starting to show signs of pain.

Not gonna go there
Grammy viewership was at 6 year low... Same with Christina Aguilera's sense of style.

Conspiracy Truths
I heard about this on the news this morning. Apparently we have a shadow government, in case BinJerkin gets ahold of a nuclear bomb and detonates it in Washington D.C.

Faster speeding ticket
I have always argued that speeding tickets aren't really a big deterrent. But that if you pulled someone over and slapped a time-release boot on their car, forcing them to wait, that that would be more of a deterrent. Well, some guy's working on technology to make it possible to write speeding tickets faster. Albeit safer, but faster. Ironic.

Down to 186. And that's all I have to say about that.

AOL: $25.98