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Monday, September 20, 2004

Penny For My Thoughts

I’m going to steal a little concept from Thomas Sowell. These are various thoughts I’ve been storing up about the world around me. Some are thoughts I have heard from other people, others are my own.

Why is it that our presidential candidates are avoiding real issues and instead resorting to childish arguments about who completed what kind of military service 30 years ago? Do they feel there is nothing of significance worth debating or do they think the voting public is just plain stupid?

Has anyone else tried to buy a combination black and red ink pen, pencil, and PDA stylus pen? I really like having multiple colors of ink in my pen/stylus combo, but I’ve been unable to find anything of quality. The mechanical pencils tend to jam, the eraser caps pop off, or the whole thing just falls apart.

I’m convinced that idiots get promoted to higher positions just to get them out of our hair. This seems to be the case in both the public and private sector. At least in the private sector, they tend to hire managers with actual management qualifications.

Digital cameras are a mixed blessing. On one hand, I shoot and look at more pictures than I ever did with an SLR camera. On the other hand, I’ve got a lot more lower quality, useless shots that I would have otherwise avoided.

Some people are dreamers and tend to see opportunity in everything. Other people are resistant to change and will fight bitterly to keep things the way they are, even when the benefits of the change are undeniable. When someone complains to me about how complicated computers have made their life, I point out to them how much time they save by typing documents in a word processor application today versus a manual typewriter 20 or 30 years ago.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) and similar technologies are a ridiculous attempt by the music industry to stifle fair use rights. DRM does not stop those who want to steal music. If you can hear it, you can record it, period!

They say good fences make good neighbors. Just make sure the fence isn’t in the easement, too high, or too ugly. In some cases, just having a fence in general will piss off neighbors. I’m watching with interest the tensions building up between a few of my neighbors over this issue. I’ll stay out of it.

It’s amazing how useless studies can be. One recent study “discovered” that when employees come to work sick, it costs the company more money than if they had taken sick leave. I’ve never met a manager that didn’t already know this.

Sometimes, I wish we could just block all e-mail coming from any e-mail server that allows open forwarding. Unfortunately, this would effectively shutdown just about all e-mail from outside the United States.

Do dog owners who leave their dogs tied up outside while they’re gone not realize that the dog barks constantly until they return, or do they just not care? On the flip side, do people who move into the country really expect neighbors to keep their dogs tied up? I refer back to the good fences argument.

I want a DVD recorder with a built-in hard drive for DVR capability that I can connect to my home network, wired or wireless, my choice. I want to share video, pictures, and music between all these devices with the ability to store and recall everything on my server. Since DRM is becoming an issue, this device needs to be able to handle DRM seamlessly. I want this device to cost no more than $300 to $400, otherwise, I might as well buy media center PCs. I know this is possible. Why are all the manufacturers making devices that are only half of this at twice the cost?

» Posted by Queue at 12:49 PM (ET)
Category: Journal Queue, Musings, Politics, Rant


Gack you really should separate this out into different entries, but here goes an attempt at a reply. I’ll refer to your questions by the number of the paragraph (with the first paragraph without a question being 0 :-).

1. Probably the later. I’ve been really disappointed with Kerry, actually, since I think Bush is very vulnerable on four counts: a. His image as a successful, wartime commander-in-chief; b. His reputation as a strong leader; c. His image as a straight-shootin’ tough-talker; and d. His family name and connections. But, that could be an entirely different post. If you’re at all interested, let me know and I’ll elaborate.

2. A friend of mine had a very nice one like that a few years back. I wonder if she still remembers where she got it.

3. Congratulations, you’ve just rediscovered the “Peter Principle” :-)

4. Agreed. My wife is always imploring me to cull…

5. Yes, but unfortunately that doesn’t just extend to computers. I believe ham radio is at that point right now where there are many people who want to keep doing things the Way They’ve Always Done It(tm) rather than doing things that could put them on the forefront of communications technology (i.e. software defined radio).

6. At least until they achieve their goal of putting DRM into analog to digital converters (as Dave Barry says, I am not kidding!).

7. Good luck!

8. That’s a good one. I guess doing a study like that would be a good racket if you can get it. :-)

9. Have you heard of greylisting? Basically, you configure the server to temporarily reject e-mail from someone you haven’t seen an e-mail from in the last X time period (which can be user defined and is generally anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours or days). Since SMTP is an “unreliable” protocol, it has stuff built in it to handle this and will just requeue the mail to be delivered later. However, if it’s a virus or a spam program sending out the e-mail, it isn’t economical for them to resend stuff like that, so they never come back! I’m just about to implement it on my servers and I’m very interested to see the results.

10. They’re probably so used to hearing the dog that it doesn’t make an impression on them. Not living in the country, I can’t answer the other question, but from a suburbanite point of view, yes I definitely expect people to have control of their dogs at all times (which is one reason among many we won’t let our 3 year old play by himself in the back yard).

11. Economies of scale. Right now they can’t build it for that price and so not as many people would buy it. Classic chicken and egg problem. Probably the best you could do right now would be to setup a MythTV box, but that would still be closer to the $500 to $600 range.

Cheers! :-)

» Posted by Tanner Lovelace
September 21, 2004 11:09 PM

Sorry, due to comment spam abuse, new comments on this entry are closed until I find time to upgrade Movable Type and enable registration and moderation.