Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An experiment

OK So this is an experiment . I'm using windows speech recognition software and the Blogger web interface to post. The reason I'm doing this is that I'm Holding my one month old son and my hands and it's difficult to type one hand. Well so far not so great.  I think this will take some getting used to.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Reformers

Have you noticed the reform movement yet?  Tea Party, fiscal conservatism, anti-bullying, the crackdown on illegal hits in professional sports?  Wall Street execs with so many eyes on their business practices and compensation packages.  Health care reform and a reconsideration of how to evaluate teachers.  If this trend continues, 2010 will be known as the start of the modern Reformist Era in the history books...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 Beta - Get it Now

"Hey, did you see you can download Office 2010 for free?" Yeah, I did. It's right here:  It looks great.  A bunch of expensive, free software without the need to jump through hoops or sign your e-mail address away for life.  You can even say you're an "IT Professional" and access the download page that has additional applications and a bunch of "tech-heavy" terms on it.  Looks great.


Can I use that?  The 1990's "NOT!"?  Well, I did; so there.  

Here's the string.  First, it's recommended you uninstall all existing versions of MS Office currently on your computer.  Ok, that's fine.  However, remember that many installations of MS Office allow only a limited quantity of "activations" after install, so if you've recently purchased a new computer and then shortly thereafter upgraded (or tried, but failed to upgrade) to Windows 7, you may be desperately short of additional activations.  Uninstalling might just mean a hassle to re-install later. Keep that in mind.

Second, the Beta software is BETA SOFTWARE.  It's not final.  It has bugs that are known that will not be fixed or supported unless you upgrade to the final software.  It's like buying a BETA car that has lots of engine trouble, but looks great.  Do you want to get it for free now and get stranded on the highway in the snow at 2am, or wait until they work out the engine kinks and then buy it, knowing it will get you home on a cold Buffalo winter night?  

Third, the Beta license runs out in October of 2010.  That's 6 months from now.  Just about the right length to get you hooked, make you forget you have one more activation of Office 2007 left, and want to just pay for the upgrade.

What would I do?  (Like you really care.  You've made up your mind to love or hate my argument above by now.  You're only still reading because you want to make yourself feel like you're open-minded and considering others' opinions.)  Well, I'll tell you what I will do.  I will wait until I can purchase supported, less buggy software.  Then I will evaluate the advantages of the new features of the software and make a purchase decision.  Is the new stuff going to improve my life (or balance sheet) enough to justify the cost?

"Hey, did you see you can download "Turkish Hits Vol. 1" from Amazon for free?"  Yup, I sure did.  It's right here: 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Harry Reid is Not a Racist

"It's a good thing the neighbors who are trying to sell their house painted it a more neutral color. Better chance it will sell now."

Imagine the quote above was uttered by somebody. Think about it. The person making the statement is a simple observer of the real estate market, knowing that a house painted bright, vibrant colors in most neighborhoods would just not sell. Would you imply the speaker above is biased against bright colors in general, or even houses that are painted bright orange?

Now, shift to Senator Harry Reid's recent statements about the color of Barak Obama's skin. There are plenty of sources we could quote to provide you with a little background, but let's just go over the Fox News, shall we?

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued an apology today over private remarks reported in a new book in which he described Barack Obama during the presidential election as a black candidate who would benefit from his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Ok, so what did Harry actually do? I propose he simply commented on the American culture and how Barak would have a chance at winning an election because Americans, on average, are racist toward darker skinned Blacks and people with ethnic dialects. Reid didn't say or do anything that would suggest he himself is a racist.

We have become so sensitized to racism that even neutral observations are construed as racist - especially if one political party or another deems it in its interest to drag someone's name though the mud.

I don't know if Harry Reid is a decent person. I don't care. My point is that his statements recently quoted in the media do NOT prove, or even directly suggest to any intelligent person, he is a racist.

"Hey, look at that bird! Good thing it lost its brown summer feathers and grew in white winter ones."

"You bird racist! Are you saying only white birds should survive the winter?" get my point...I hope.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Legos, Musicals, and STP

When I was younger, I liked Legos, musicals, and Stone Temple Pilots. Oh, the hours I'd spend uncomfortably perched upon a thin carpet covering our 1/2 remodeled basement floor sifting through pieces upon pieces of small plastic bricks. They made a horrible music as you pushed them around - a sound I can only imagine curled my parents' ear drums. But I was mesmerized by the sound, the search for that perfect brick, to add to the perfect knob of the perfect piece on the soon-to-be-perfect Lego creation. As I grew older, my Lego collection slowed its growth. I spent more of my funds on soccer spikes, gifts for my girlfriend, and gas money. Legos seemed sort of humorous, as I aged.

I tried out for a high school musical, Hello Dolly, when I was a junior. Landed a lead role. The daily practices, the warm-up routine, the constant company of my opposite actors. Preparing for those three magical nights of live performance made me feel tired; like I was treading through a thick cornfield in early October with a dog on my ass, chasing me toward some end. The payoff? Oh yeah, it was there. Get more than three people to clap and cheer for you because of something you just did that they didn't have the nerve to do. You'll see. By the time I could buy a six pack at Tops Supermarket, musicals seemed a bit dorky.

Stone Temple Pilots, on cassette tape in my brand new Sony Walkman. It had digital FM and AM tuning, and a tape deck that automatically reversed - so you never had to manually flip the tape. I could listen to STP forever. I remember blasting the comforting beats into headphones, reading a Dale Brown book about a stealth airplane. This was before the public knew about the SR-71, mind you. On my wedding day, STP wasn't on the playlist - too heavy and unapproachable for a husband to introduce to his wife.

Now, I'm an adult. A father, professional, who manages his money carefully and always remembers to call his mom on a regular basis. I wear a Citizen watch and drive a reliable care with 153,000 miles gently worn into its four cylinders. I compost for God's sake!

...I know you want what's on my mind. I know you like what's on my mind....

Wait, what's that? Like a tugboat's whistle through a dense Portsmouth harbor fog, a steady unapproachable heavy noise fills my headphones as I type.

...I said I wanna get next to you...

Oh yeah. STP blaring into my open, welcoming old ears. I love it. I love how I can use a tugboat and fog analogy to describe music through headphones. I would have never thought to do that in high school. Likewise, I never would have mused it would take me years to realize that growing up does not change a man. You don't grow into someone else as you age. You are always that same clay you were born of. It molds, reshapes, dries, moistens, dries again in a different configuration; and the same clay - those Legos, musicals, and STP songs - remains.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Seems Everything is Connected

"Life's a game, but it's not fair. I break the rules so I don't care." ... "The only thing that's on my mind is who's gonna run this town tonight." -Rihanna. It's on my headphones, plugged into my little computer speakers, sitting next to my Dell desktop PC, connected to my Lala music account. Earlier today, Chris Bathgate was filling the air in my kitchen/dining room/living room, and he was being pumped into this space via my iPod, plugged into some speakers, plugged into an extension cord, plugged get the idea. Seems everything is connected.

Seems everything is connected. My 13.5 mo old daughter is sleeping peacefully (I hope) upstairs in her crib, monitor blazing that little green light saying "Everything's ok. I'm on." The eternal sentinel watching over your most precious package. The other end of that electronic guardian is sitting above those computer speakers that my headphones are plugged into - now spouting Uprising by Muse - with its watchful green "on" eye glowing, but none of the red lights indicating a waking or crying baby. You dads get it. Seems everything is connected.

Seems everything is connected. I typed in today to see how my Pats did against the Panthers. On the right hand column, under Headlines, I see text with keywords "Pats" and "Panthers". Keywords. Of course. I don't remember what the actual phrase was. We don't read article headlines anymore, do we? Or did we ever? We just look for keywords. Weather. Murder. Winner. We probably never read full headlines before, but now we know what keywords are, and we are connected with our own brains more intimately by understanding the concept. Do I need to say it again? Seems everything is connected.

So I clicked the keyword link to see how my Pats did against the Panthers. And then it happened. I was treated to a 30 second video ad from Lexus. Lexus! I can't afford to put leather seats in my Accord. Well, I choose not to spend my limited funds on that. Right? We could afford probably any one luxury, certainly not all, of course; but we choose to spend our money on diapers, a well-needed babysitter.. you get it. Lexus. The only reason I did not immediately click away from was my wife interrupted me with some normal everyday question that I instinctively promoted above all Internet visuals, audios, text, etc in front of me. When we were done with our conversation, that damned Lexus ad was still running! 3...2...1...done! Then a stall while the Game Center console I wanted to look at loaded. Why does think my time is so invaluable that I would ever choose to sit through a 30 second snooty car commercial just to see some game stats when there are hundreds of other web sites, blogs, RSS feeds, that load much faster, I could get the same info from? Seems everything...