Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of the Aughts

A sobering look at the first decade of the 21st century, and how it began for some.

Up on the ancient mound of Armageddon, we could see Nazareth to the east, Mount Tabor, and the pass down to the Mediterranean. We were surrounded by, in fact atop the scene of many ancient and terrible battles. It wasn’t for nothing John of Patmos in his cave settled on Armageddon as the place where the world would end. It had been doing that on a regular basis there for centuries.

The sky was afire, blood red and terrible overhead. It looked great, very apocalyptic. But Garo needed someone to <photograph> amid the ancient wreckage of 16 cities, and I needed someone to quote. I caught a flash of black in the corner of my eye, a caped figure bounding across the old fallen stones at some distance.

“Look, it’s the Angel of Death,” I said. “Let’s go get him.”

By the time we ran him down in among some rocks, he had taken the form of a longhaired, heavily tattooed, Bible-quoting car park attendant from Albuquerque. I asked if he was here waiting for the End Times, for the Great Final Battle between Good and Evil. He gave me a look like I didn’t get it, and said, “That’s been going on for some time. It’s going on all around us. You just can’t see it.”

It wasn’t all dark, but it was dark enough.  The fire and the flame were just the beginning, and I fear that the end is nowhere in sight.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Post Racial Racism

I’m not sure what this represents.  It is litigation out of control, or a swing in the perception of racism to being something less determined by skin color and more by intent?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Surprise?

I don't know what T-Mobile is up to, but I'm blogging and generally having a good time with my laptop tethered to my G1. The speed tests aren't that impressive, still under 1mbps, but I've RDP'd to my home network and used Skype to call the test line.

As far as I can tell the HSPA upgrade hasn't occurred yet, but when it does this might be an alternative to wired broadband. Have to see if they offer home service.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

History Repeats

I just read this little gem:

Under the UN rules for the climate change negotiations, any final agreement would have to be accepted by all of the 193 countries present.

Yeah, cuz that worked so well for the Articles of Confederation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rounding Error

The Commerce Department has again revised downward the GDP growth:

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the July-to-September quarter, slower than the 2.8 percent growth rate estimated just a month ago. Economists were predicting that figure wouldn't be revised in the government's final estimate on third-quarter GDP.

Hot Air notes this:

Most troubling is Commerce’s poor performance in analyzing economic conditions.  If they’re so incompetent as to miss this figure by 37% (1.3 from 3.5 is slightly over 37%), then clearly they need some fresh talent.  If they got pressured into stating overly cheerful numbers, it’s something else entirely.

Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence.  Three times is enemy action.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On Charging

As I embark on this new adventure, I often wonder how to price myself.  I ran across this on Google Wave today:

I read the following piece of advice on rates: You are almost certainly valuing yourself too low. To determine if that is the case, next time you're quoting your rate, tell the client the price, and then punch him in the face. If he looks more offended by the punch, you're not charging enough.

Something to think about.

Don’t tug on Superman’s cape

Senator Al Franken, Capitol Hill Rookie, retired comedian, and failed radio talk show host, made a splash last week.

But last week the wheels briefly flew off of the collegiality cart when newly minted Senator Al Franken temporarily took the gavel to preside over the health care debate. Joe Lieberman — frequently a recent target of progressive ire — was concluding his remarks when he was abruptly informed that his allotted ten minutes had expired. Using a procedure common to all members, Senator Lieberman requested unanimous consent for “a moment” to wrap up his statement. Franken, in his capacity as the “senator from Minnesota,” took this opportunity to grab a few headlines with two simple words: “I object.”

Understand that Joe Lieberman was rejected by Franken’s party after years of service, lost his state primary, and still managed to stuff the Democrat’s candidate’s head up his own ass. 

Meanwhile, Franken was barely confirmed to his post after months of recounts and some very, very iffy poll shenanigans.

Who sounds more vulnerable to you?

As with most things in the world, Franken had a cost/benefit analysis to make:  Do I let this respected senator continue for a few minutes to finish his remarks, or do I make this insufferable embarrassment to the Party shut his piehole?

I suspect he chose poorly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Danger of Success

Bryan Singer has managed to fall into the same trap as Joss Whedon: He's been so convinced by his legions of fans that he can do no wrong that he is no longer capable of looking at his own work objectively.

in reference to:

"What was supposed to be a long retirement into the land of DC Comics ended up being just a short vacation for Bryan Singer."
- http://airlockalpha.com/news/6965/bryan-singer-returns-to-x-men-franchise.html (view on Google Sidewiki)

Why Movies Are Less Appealing

Without going into a discussion about Avatar, Howard Tayler just helped me to realize something.

I expect to enjoy it, but also to recall at least one or two better tellings of the same general tale, the same morality play. For most audience members, however, this will feel brand new and wonderful.

I’ve been considering why I don’t seem to go to nearly as many movies as I once did.  I fully realize that most stores can fall into a handful of general categories, but that doesn’t bother me as long as they try to tell the story in a new way.

Unfortunately, I think my expectations of movies has shifted.  I don’t think they’re trying hard enough to add something to the genre, especially when the director/writer uses the film as a soapbox for his personal views without acknowledging that there might be another perspective.

Here’s where I bake your noodle.  I like South Park precisely because it does that.  It can look at the use of a word and attack it from all sides, and defend as well.  In a recent episode they managed to examine, in a half hour, how the use of the term “fag” is inappropriate, historically negative towards many different groups, why it’s not a crisis of culture that the term is used, and why it’s only applied to certain types of groups.

That’s some complex shit.  Oh, and it was funny.

So if you can’t put a new twist on it, at least give it an uplifting ending.  Then, again, I may not be the target market any more.

Thought of the Day

I’ll bet even people who haven’t seen A Few Good Men will recognize this quote:

Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

Why is it that the climactic monologue by the ostensible villian of the piece is the part that resonates so strongly with our culture?  Is it because deep down, we acknowledge that there are hard choices to be made, and that in reality we “want them on that wall”?

Or maybe Tom Cruise should have never been put head to head with Jack Nicholson?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Gauntlet is Thrown

Via Instapundit, we have this:

It's time to face facts: San Francisco is spectacularly mismanaged and arguably the worst-run big city in America. This year's city budget is an astonishing $6.6 billion — more than twice the budget for the entire state of Idaho — for roughly 800,000 residents. Yet despite that stratospheric amount, San Francisco can't point to progress on many of the social issues it spends liberally to tackle — and no one is made to answer when the city comes up short.

The city's ineptitude is no secret. "I have never heard anyone, even amongliberals, say, 'If only [our city] could be run like San Francisco,'" says urbanologist Joel Kotkin. "Even other liberal places wouldn't put up with the degree of dysfunction they have in San Francisco. In Houston, the exact opposite of San Francisco, I assume you'd get shot."

You see that, Detroit?  Someone is trying to steal your title.  Perhaps I’m biased by proximity, but I think we have a really good argument that Detroit is the worst run big city, hell any sized city, in America.

Whether it’s inept graft, blatant thuggery, or outright theft, Detroit has the best of the worst.

So go ahead, Frisco, do your worst.  I’ll pit Detroit’s short-sighted ignorant self-interest and corruption against your starry-eyed idealism, myopia, and incompetence any day of the week.

Snowbound Traffic Lights

The Law of Unintended Consequences rides again:

MILWAUKEE – Cities around the country that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights are discovering a hazardous downside: The bulbs don't burn hot enough to melt snow and can become crusted over in a storm — a problem blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death.

"I've never had to put up with this in the past," said Duane Kassens, a driver from West Bend who got into a fender-bender recently because he couldn't see the lights. "The police officer told me the new lights weren't melting the snow. How is that safe?"

Many communities have switched to LED bulbs in their traffic lights because they use 90 percent less energy than the old incandescent variety, last far longer and save money. Their great advantage is also their drawback: They do not waste energy by producing heat.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'll be home for Christmas

You may remember that spot of excitement we had back in July:



And here are some photos of the aftermath:



Well it looks like the much maligned folks at MDOT have pulled off quite a coup as the bridge will be re-opening Monday.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the Nine Mile Road bridge over Interstate 75 in Hazel Park is planned for Monday at 10 a.m.
I'm sure this comes as a relief to local businesses, some of which have seen their clientèle literally cut in half.

Consider Convergence

I’m notorious for carrying more electronics than I need, and I still try to combine devices whenever it’s possible and wise.

Something Xavier Lanier might consider:

IMG_0562

I put my MacBook Pro and HP Envy 13 in one tray and all of my gadgets in another.  Amongst the gadgets I’m carrying is my Sanyo Xacti  HD1010 camcorder, a pair of Seagate portable drives, a Gorilla Pod, a Blackberry Pearl, a pair of iPhones, a Monster travel surge protector, a portable speaker from Radio Shack, a Reliance 3G modem, a Call Pod Duo and a couple of SanDisk CF card readers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Changing Tastes

I don't like beer, but if it keeps me healthy...

Beer could be the new weapon against cancer - Scotsman.com News: "MEN now have another excuse to go down the pub thanks to new research suggesting that a compound in beer may prevent prostate cancer.
Tests showed that the ingredient, xanthohumol, blocked a biological pathway that allows prostate cancer to be fuelled by the male hormone testosterone.

The disease is commonly treated with drugs that act in a similar way."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Join listing

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that having everyone's connections on the front page is not compelling news.

I know you're just getting started, but this really does make me want to go elsewhere.

in reference to: http://egether.com/ (view on Google Sidewiki)

So THAT’S why

Shamus explains it all

It’s all done through Twitter, so you have to have a Twitter account to vote. I’m sorry. It’s a web 2.0 thing. Didn’t you know? Web 2.0 is about connecting every social media site to every other one in a giant clusterfarg of account names and logins until the whole network collapses in on itself and forms a CSS-compliant singularity.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The value of a life

This is the kind of attitude that informs the health care bills.  The health adviser to the President says:

 

According to Emanuel, “The death of a 20-year-old woman is intuitively worse than that of a two-month-old girl.” I doubt the parents of the two-month-old agree.

In what world is that intuitive?

And, if you are a child with disabilities, the government has already completely given up on you. Emanuel believes“services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed.” What’s worse, since he does not believe in “guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason,” once the public option puts the private sector out of business, these types of life-changing services for children will no longer exist.

It wasn’t that long ago that how we care for our sick was a rallying cry.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Vancouver Reunion Show

This weeks’ Dollhouse brings back some of my favorites from several Genre series:

Tonight's back-to-back episodes, "The Public Eye" and "The Left Hand," feature Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Alexis Denisof, who guest-stars as U.S. Sen. Daniel Perrin. He's on a mission to expose the secrets of the Dollhouse with the help of Madeline/November (Miracle Laurie). The team heads to Washington and runs into Bennett Halverson, a brilliant programmer who has a connection to Echo's past. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' Summer Glau plays Bennett, and Reaper's Ray Wise plays her boss, Stewart.

I’m especially excited to see Ray Wise in something.  He was creepily devious as Reaper’s resident Prince of Lies, and I’m eager to see what else he has up his sleeve.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Healthcare Alternatives

Lots of people talk about allowing the market to take care of healthcare, but what exactly does that mean?

The prospect of paying for my own health insurance is actually kind of daunting, but if I had more money coming in, and I was allowed to price shop, I might find something more comfortable…

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Offensive Comication

I’m not gay, and this offended me.

Gay superhero wears spandex: it's not exactly television and movies, but it is comic book-ish at least, right?

A brand new comic book is launching called Spandex that will make Superman want to find his own changing room.

The book will feature an entirely gay superhero team including a transvestite named Liberty, a lesbian Wonder Woman named Diva, a male dazzler named Glitter, and more.

Maybe we should stop there? Nah, here is everyone: Prowler absorbs the abilities of gay people, Indigo is a beautiful French teleporter, and two strong twins called Mr. Muscles & Butch.

And this isn't me saying this ... this is the press release: "Every issue you can see the team beating off such enemies as Muscle Mary, Pussy and the Pink Ninjas."

Hey, I didn't say it!

The first bad-guy, however, is not even a guy. It will be the 50-Foot Lesbian. I'm really not making this up.

"Gay people in comics are fairly under-represented, but this new comic aims to address that," said Martin Eden, the comics creator, who failed to add why this has to sound like the most stereotypical gay project since ... well, ever.

"'Spandex' introduces a whole bunch of fabulous new characters who are set to take the comic world by storm. It's a fun, experimental comic, full of drama, comedy, romance and action ... all done in the best possible taste."

Seems like a juvenile attempt to offend everyone in sight while hiding behind a shield of “diversity”, “tolerance” and “artful experimentation.”

Call me when it gets a Pulitzer.

Food for thought

Angeline Jolie breaks with Hollywood:

But don't expect to see the Salt actress rally against Democrats on Fox News like her staunch Republican father, Jon Voight.

"Angie isn't Republican, but she thinks Obama is all smoke and mirrors," the source says.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fantasy meets Reality

This is totally NSFW.

Group Hate Fest Targets wrong Target

Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin gets a reaction:

In its reader forum, The Fray, one supposed Palinophobe took dead aim at the former Alaska governor’s writing chops, excerpting the following sentence from her book:
“The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle.”
Other readers pounced like wolf-sized Dobermans on an intruder. One guffawed, “That sentence by Sarah Palin could be entered into the annual Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest. It could have a chance at winning a (sic) honorable mention, at any rate.”
But soon, the original contributor confessed: “I probably should have mentioned that the sentence quoted above was not written by Sarah Palin. It’s taken from the first paragraph of ‘Dreams From My Father,’ written by Barack Obama.”

Talk about punked!

h/t: Instapundit

Saturday Night Live Grows Big, Hairy Ones

SNL has decided to corner the market on Obama humor.  Nobody else in the major networks seems to be willing to take on the task, so SNL is poised for either a disastrous crash or a precipitous success.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Numbers Game

The Android phones continue to nibble away at market share, but there are some interesting statistics regarding how Android is used compared to the iPhone:

 

Mobile Social Media Activities of US Smartphone Users, by Operating System, July 2009 (% reach)

Note that in many categories the iPhone and Android are very close, with iPhone having a slight edge.

But in the case of newer technologies that weren’t available on the iPhone originally Android has the edge.  Note that the capabilities weren’t present on Android 1.0 either, but the phones were much newer when video was introduced and there was a much shorter span without the ability.

Danger from Breast Cancer Over at 40

Whew! That's a relief. All you women can stop having your boobies run through a ringer.
Federal panel recommends reducing number of mammograms - washingtonpost.com: "Women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year, an influential federal task force has concluded, challenging the use of one of the most common medical tests."
Naturally, you realize that this is just a step away from not having it qualify for federal funding. I can't wait to see what other gems the public option will uncover.

The Other Gitmo

I’ve never seen this side of Guantanamo bay.  The statistics are interesting, since we rarely hear any context for the accusations.

The New Prohibition

First they came for the cigarettes. Now it's your drink. Pardon me for having a moment of Joy in my life.

Buzz Kill: The FDA Wants to Regulate How You Party.: "

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration notified 27 manufacturers of so-called “alcoholic energy drinks (AEDs),” that they have 30 days to prove the safety of such drinks. If the listed manufacturers fail to comply, or fail to prove the safety of their products, they will be forced to discontinue them. Many companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Diageo have already stopped the sale and production of similar products, in anticipation of the FDA crackdown. Needless to say, in the midst of a recession this is not ideal.

This breathtaking power grab by the FDA is just another example of the dramatic overreach of government we're seeing in every sector. From healthcare, to banking, to the internet, to what jobs we can have and how much we should be paid and what we do with our free time.

It won't end until we're all criminals of one sort or another. The side effect is that when you have that many criminals, they sort of morph into a rebellion.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The West's Best Kept Secret

Shhh! Nobody tell them what "MILF" means:
Irish priest kidnapped in Philippines released by MILF | csmonitor.com: "Irish priest Father Michael Sinnott, who had been kidnapped by militants in the Philippines, was released Wednesday night to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which handed him to the Filipino government as a goodwill gesture."

No Safe Place

The Justice Department is attempting to mine the roles of Indymedia. I've never been a fan of the site or the kind of discussion that goes on there, but I think this is bad, bad, bad.

Investors.com - A Curious Subpoena: "
IBD EDITORIALS
A Curious Subpoena
Posted 11/10/2009 07:36 PM ET
Big Brother: The Justice Department wants an online news site to hand over its visitor list. Why? No one's quite sure yet. But if this is just a fishing expedition by the government, it's a troubling precedent.

The unusual request for information, delivered via a grand jury subpoena to Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us, also demanded that the Web site 'not ... disclose the existence of this request,' unless the Justice Department approves it."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Baguette Dropped From Bird's Beak Shuts Down The Large Hadron Collider (Really) | Popular Science

This is getting freaky.
Baguette Dropped From Bird's Beak Shuts Down The Large Hadron Collider (Really) | Popular Science: "The Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, just cannot catch a break. First, a coolant leak destroyed some of the magnets that guide the energy beam. Then LHC officials postponed the restart of the machine to add additional safety features. Now, a bird dropping a piece of bread on a section of the accelerator has, according to the Register, shut down the whole operation.
The bird dropped some bread on a section of outdoor machinery, eventually leading to significant over heating in parts of the accelerator. The LHC was not operational at the time of the incident, but the spike produced so much heat that had the beam been on, automatic failsafes would have shut down the machine."
I say freaky because some otherwise suspected physicists have a theory about the startup:
“A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.”
Seriously.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Holiday Lighting Win

Some years ago, I posted the original "Wizards in Winter" clip and got a lot of traffic, so as we approach that time of year again, I thought it would be appropriate to post this:

Holiday Lighting Win: "



epic fail pictures


Picture by: JackBrimstone Submitted by: JackBrimstone via Fail Uploader







"

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weak!!!

Defensive much?

iPhone Fan Makes Anti-Droid Commercial: "

If you watch television you've probably seen the anti-iPhone Droid commercial that Verizon is running (if you haven't, watch it after the jump first). Well this is an anti-Droid commercial in the same style, created by a crazed iPhone fan that doesn't like it when people bad-talk his girlfriend. TOO BAD THE HUSSY DROPS MY CALLS ALL THE TIME. Ooooh, burn!

Hit the jump for the original commercial."

The State of the World

Roland Emmerich isn’t just a disaster porn peddler, he’s also chickenshit:

But Emmerich was thinking of something even more explosive: The Kaaba, the cube-shaped building at the heart of Mecca, the focus of prayers and the Islamic pilgrimage called the Hajj; it is one of Islam's holiest sites.

Really?

"Well, I wanted to do that, I have to admit," Emmerich says. "But my co-writer Harald said I will not have a fatwa on my head because of a movie. And he was right. ... We have to all ... in the Western world ... think about this. You can actually ... let ... Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with [an] Arab symbol, you would have ... a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is. So it's just something which I kind of didn't [think] was [an] important element anyway in the film, so I kind of left it out."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Space Elevator Games Beaming Competition Nov 2 to Nov 6, 2009

If I'm ever going to see orbit, this is how.

Space Elevator Games Beaming Competition Nov 2 to Nov 6, 2009: "The Space Elevator Games beaming competition will be held Nov 2nd to Nov 6th, 2009

The power beaming games are now scheduled to be held on the week of 11/2 at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base near Mojave, CA.

The first two days of the week will be dedicated to set-up, testing, and calibrations, and the first competitive climb will take place on Wednesday, 11/4.

Each team will get one 45-minute climb window per day, and we will repeat the process over 3 days to make sure each team can achieve the best score they are capable of.


Friday, October 2, 2009

FDA bans flavored cigarettes | Booster Shots | Los Angeles Times

Next on the endangered products list: Donuts!
FDA bans flavored cigarettes | Booster Shots | Los Angeles Times: "The Food and Drug Administration said this morning that it is, effective immediately,�banning cigarettes with fruit, candy or clove flavors because they lure adolescents into smoking. 'Almost 90% of adult smokers start smoking as teenagers. These flavored cigarettes are a gateway�for many children and young adults to become regular smokers,' said FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg. Studies have shown that 17-year-old smokers are three times as likely to use flavored cigarettes as those over the age of 25."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Even Flow

This seems so elementary I don't understand why nobody has thought of it before...

Patient with no pulse: "MADAM Salina Mohamed So'ot has no pulse. But she is very much alive.

The 30-year-old administrative assistant is the first recipient here to get a new artificial heart that pumps blood continuously, the reason why there are no beats on her wrist."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Interview with a Mayor

Wellford, SC:



At least it's not only Detroit.




Ladies and gentlemen, your elected officials.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Saving the world, one apartment at a time

There are always unintended consequences to any law, bill, or mandate that Congress passes.  Waxman-Markey is no exception, except that the consequences are easier to see.

Inspections are not free. Nor is fixing the inevitable violations. Compliance with new energy-efficiency standards would make homes, especially older ones, more expensive. Selling one’s home would become even harder than it already is in this down market if Waxman-Markey-style cap and trade becomes law.

And that is just one of the unintended consequences.

Suppose you have a window that isn’t quite airtight or your appliances are a little too old. Maybe they’re not Energy Star certified. You’d have to replace them before you would be allowed to sell your home.

The result could be the end of fixer-upper homes; surely, this is not what Congress has in mind. Some families prefer to buy a home in less-than-stellar condition on the cheap and make repairs and upgrades themselves.

Read more: Here

Ouch.

I’m not sure if being liked by the people who want us to fail is a good thing, Mr. President.

The UN is not a club of democracies - who still remain a minority within its membership – it is a vast melting pot of free societies, socialist regimes and outright tyrannies. Obama’s clear lack of interest in human rights issues is a big seller at the UN, where at least half its members have poor human rights records.

The president scores highly at the UN for refusing to project American values and military might on the world stage, with rare exceptions like the war against the Taliban. His appeasement of Iran, his bullying of Israel, his surrender to Moscow, his call for a nuclear free world, his siding with Marxists in Honduras, his talk of a climate change deal, have all won him plaudits in the large number of UN member states where US foreign policy has traditionally been viewed with contempt.

Simply put, Barack Obama is loved at the UN because he largely fails to advance real American leadership. This is a dangerous strategy of decline that will weaken US power and make her far more vulnerable to attack.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Simple Approach to Managing Information Overload

And now on a completely different note:
A Simple Approach to Managing Information Overload: "

information wordleWe all have to follow never-ending streams of information to varying degrees. Small business owners and web workers have to keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in their markets and with their customers and clients. Writers and bloggers read for inspiration and to follow the latest trends.


No matter what you do, there are probably a certain number of sources that you follow on a regular basis, and managing that information as seamlessly as possible is very important for your productivity, and to hold on to your sanity and not feel overwhelmed.


For me, the easiest way to streamline my information processing is to organize it by context so that I know immediately how to treat the information and, more importantly, how to act on it.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Uncle Sam Eyes Vehicle Tracking Tax | The Truth About Cars

I can't even tell you how wrong this is. Let's talk about civil liberties now.

Uncle Sam Eyes Vehicle Tracking Tax | The Truth About Cars: "A Member of Congress proposes to use taxpayer money to fund the development of technology to track motorists as part of a new form of taxation. US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced H.R. 3311 earlier this year to appropriate $154,500,000 for research and study into the transition to a per-mile vehicle tax system.�The “Road User Fee Pilot Project” would be administered by the US Treasury Department. This agency in turn would issue millions in taxpayer-backed grants to well-connected commercial manufacturers of tolling equipment to help develop the required technology. Within eighteen months of the measure’s passage, the department would file an initial report outlining the best methods for adopting the new federal transportation tax."

Disengagement

I've long held that the biggest mistake one can make in any sort of council situation is to disengage out of protest. Walking out of the meeting means that you no longer have any say or any knowledge of what happens afterwards.

In contrast to that, when you no longer have any say perhaps it's best to move along. I've been told that when I respond to other people's political statements that I'm "getting started" and it's been made very clear that my opinion on a number of things is neither respected nor desired.

So what's the point in sticking around listening to people whine and cry about things in an echo chamber when they have the firm conviction that anyone who doesn't agree with them is a nut, racist, or fool?

So I did an odd thing today: I removed people from my friends list on Facebook. Most of their posts are political in nature and since I can't respond meaningfully, there's no point in continuing to deal with it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Well Played

So they actually shot 2 videos, released the first one, waited for the denials, and then released the verification.

Very smart. I think there might be some truth to the video, the guy might actually run for office.
ANOTHER ACORN “PIMP” VIDEO — FROM A DIFFERENT OFFICE: “One day after two ACORN officials in Baltim…: "

ANOTHER ACORN “PIMP” VIDEO — FROM A DIFFERENT OFFICE: “One day after two ACORN officials in Baltimore were fired for offering to help a man and woman posing as a pimp and prostitute to engage in child prostitution and a series of tax crimes, another secretly shot videotape has surfaced that shows the same couple getting similar advice from ACORN officers in Washington. The newly released videotape, shot on July 25, shows ACORN staffers explaining to the pair how they can hide the woman’s professed work — prostitution — and get a loan that will help them establish a brothel. . . . The ACORN employee later suggests that O’Keefe, who said he had a budding political career, not linger at the house in case people ‘put the dots together’ and leave him ’smeared and tarnished’ by his association with his prostitute girlfriend.” Yeah, those nasty “smears” are something you’ve got to watch out for.


Related: “So, while ACORN wanted people to think that this was some kind of isolated incident, it isn’t.”

"

At least one chuckle

Thanks Glenn. I needed that laugh.

UH OH: U.S. government nervous about stimulus fraud, scams. “As billions of dollars from the econo…: "

UH OH: U.S. government nervous about stimulus fraud, scams. “As billions of dollars from the economic stimulus plan pour through the U.S. economy, members of Congress, the administration and regulatory agencies are increasingly worried about the risks of fraud.” Now they’re worried?

"

Yup, Rough Day

Perhaps this is just self-flagellation. Perhaps I should get over it. I've already been told today that I'm self-absorbed for even thinking about this day as anything other than a day to commemorate the loss of freedoms.

Fuck that.
Pajamas TV - Trifecta - "Never Forget" Means Never Forgetting

Today is gonna be rough

I'm sometimes shocked at the things my friends will say.

The challenge for me is to not react too strongly to things I find repugnant. Choosing today to harp on the loss of liberties (etc. etc., ad nauseum) strikes me as poor taste, and continuing the metaphor I find it hard to swallow.

Lately I've been serious consideration to how much I want friends over how much I want to stand up for myself. I suppose that makes me something of a cranky old man.

The problem is that I don't have nearly enough confidence in my own views. I'm always willing to accept the possibilty that I'm wrong, so I lose arguments to people who have no such handicap and in fact have a considerable lack of both perspective and introspection.

That's what's been weighing on me the most lately. It seems that I'm constantly on the defensive because I'm not aggressive enough, and it seems that pretty much nobody has my back.

What would Howard Roark do?



In Memory

Eight years ago today, on a morning very much like this one, 3000 people died in the most horrific act of terrorism ever to occur on American soil.

The day was marked with tragedy and with heroism, with fear and with courage. What came after will be a subject for contention and debate for decades to come, but for today I choose to remember those people and their families.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Moral Markets, Chemistry, and How the Occasional Bastard is a Good Thing

Enraged

Sorry folks, you can’t go to war half way. 

Carrots and stick, folks.  All carrots and no sticks makes for brave warriors who perish on the field of battle because the local fighters have little to fear – not because of our own warriors, but because of the lack of resourcing and tactics being implemented.

UPDATE:

It now appears that this may be yet another example of a rules of engagement problem.

GANJGAL, Afghanistan — We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

I’m not sure where the confusion is.  The Marines were invited to meet with this village, and they were ambushed.  They weren’t looking for trouble this time, but maybe that’s the problem.

U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren’t near the village.

They waited for support and got none.  The civilians in this case were hardly civilians, were they? 

Those who say we don’t belong there seem to forget that this village doesn’t represent the entire country, but they did set up an ambush.  What would you do?  And do you understand the consequences?

Read it all.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Let the Satire Begin!

You knew there would have to be something to make fun of the Marvel/Disney Team-Up.







Thursday, September 3, 2009

Well then. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aqgweyLi6lYA

Other Plans

That's nice Mr. President. Glad you like being on TV. I'll be busy.

President Obama to address Congress - Mike Allen - POLITICO.com: "President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress on health care reform in prime time on Wednesday, Sept. 9, a senior official tells POLITICO."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Listen to Big Brother

While I think it's important for children to learn respect for authority (and then how and when to disobey), and I'm certainly not going to dismiss the Presidents responsibility to be a role model, I do wonder exactly what this is all about. Considering the recent attempts to enlist the clergy in the fight for socialized medicine, I'm more than a bit concerned that this will be an attempt at indoctrination.

Take a day of vacation. Go to the zoo. Anything that would save your offspring from what I will bluntly say is just the quasi-fellating the executive branch. That cackling over a bubbling cauldron you hear is the NEA rejoicing.

Picture 4


Friday, August 28, 2009

MS stops fighting the current

Microsoft has decided that if they can't beat them, they might as well join them. In a complete surprise MS has produced a competetive user level video editing tool and given you the option of uploading the video to YouTube...by default.

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Live Movie Maker Review, Part 2: "YouTube
You may be surprised that YouTube is the default sharing choice in Windows Live Movie Maker, though I should mention that Microsoft's own video sharing site, MSN Soapbox, was very recently cancelled due to lack of interest. YouTube, of course, is one of the most popular web sites in the world and, by far, the most popular video sharing site. So there it is."

Why Glenn Beck Is Feared By The Left

Honestly, I'd taken almost no notice of Glenn Beck until a left wing group decided to organize a boycott. What, I asked my self, could inspire such hatred or fear?

Via Instapundit, I have my answer:



I've walked away from arguments feeling frustrated in the past, with the vague feeling that I didn't present myself or my arguments well. That's because I'm always willing to admit the possibility that I'm wrong.

But Glenn has faith, an unshakeable belief that his core values are right. That sounds unreasonable to me, but it's also something that has been the sole domain of the Left until recently. Glenn's faith empowers him as it does those who "speak truth to power," and it scares the bejesus out of them.

Once, long ago, I read Robert Heinleins Job: A Comedy of Justice. It made me re-examine a lot of things I had taken for granted about the world around me. And I promised to never give that book to someone with a strongly expressed faith, because it made me doubt and ask questions. I don't regret it, but life was so much more complicated after that.

Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps more people should question their ideals. Regardless, it's that faith and conviction that wins the day, and Beck has it, and more people on the right are following his example. This is a real concern for those who thought they had a lock on moral outrage.

A Matter of Definition


YouTube - ASTROTURF JERKS!! (Crowder Goes Liberal)

$33,0000 per year? That's more than I make as a trained technical support specialist!

Could Depression Be Useful After All

I have some highly depressive tendencies. I've also noticed that I do some of my best, most lucid and clearly thought out writing when I'm depressed. There may be a reason:
Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time.
While this doesn't make depression any more pleasant, and I am by no means suggesting that severe depression is a good thing, it does suggest that there are times when it is useful, and that there are reasons for depression outside of a chemical imbalance.

And maybe I'm not paranoid after all.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crazy Ahnold's!

The Governator is trying to rais some cash! come on down to Crazy Ahnold's Used Office Supply, Government Property, and Police Seizure Sale!
Everything Must Go: California Holds Giant Garage Sale - News Story - KTVU San Francisco: "The governor has even autographed 15 car visors in an effort to fetch higher bids on vehicles."

Chilling

I'm trying very hard not to be paranoid, but with the recent appeal to authority, this latest item is beginning to look the the assembly of a propaganda arm:

And if you think that my fear regarding the arts becoming a tool of the state is still unfounded, I leave you with a few statements made by the NEA to the art community participants on the conference call. “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally?…bare with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely… “

And so the betrayal is complete

The next version of Mac OSX is about to be released, and in a fit of the typical customer disloyalty, those of you with older macs, from the time when Intel architecture was considered inferior, are out of luck.
6 Things You Need to Know About Mac OS X Snow Leopard | Gadget Lab | Wired.com: "Hardware Requirements: No Support for PowerPC Macs

If you own an older Mac powered by a PowerPC chip (rather than Intel), then you’re out of luck: Snow Leopard won’t run on your machine. The requirements are as follows: You must own an Intel Mac equipped with at least 1GB of memory, and the install requires at least 5GB of free hard drive space for the install. And of course, you’ll need a DVD drive to be able to read the disc and run the installation. (MacBook Air owners: We hope you have an external optical drive.)"
Personally, I think it should be distributed on a read-only USB drive for those poor Air owners. Then again, I suppose if you can pay $2000+ for your computer, you can afford an extra $99.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Say What?

The Associated Press: Chrysler cuts powertrain warranty to 5 years: "AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Chrysler Group LLC said Wednesday that it is dropping its lifetime powertrain warranty in favor of a 5-year, 100,000-mile guarantee.
Chrysler spokesman Rick Deneau said the decision was driven by market research that showed consumers prefer warranties with a fixed time period. Powertrain warranties typically cover repair or replacement of transmission and engine parts.
'Basically, the assumption of a lifetime warranty just wasn't that big a deal to consumers,' Deneau said."
Somebody needs a new market research group. This is so mind-bogglingly stupid I'm at a loss for words.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bait and Switch

Whatever you may think of Cash for Clunkers, I don't think it's fair or reasonable to make that committment and then not be prepared to follow through.

Auto Dealers Paid for Just 2 Percent of 'Clunkers' Claims, Congressman Says - Political News - FOXNews.com: "In the letter, Sestak said only 2 percent of claims have been paid and that four of every five applications have been 'rejected for minor oversight.'�

In recent days, auto dealers across the country have been complaining that the reimbursement payments are slow to process. And they said some of their applications were being rejected because of apparent procedural issues. The statistics Sestak cited suggest those complaints are not based on isolated incidents.�"
h/t: Instapundit

Health Care, with actual numbers

I like numbers. They can be used in a very specific way to come to a conclusion. Of course, as the writer here notes it's important to keep in mind that the way the numbers are compiled can make a big difference. Read on, and take that grain of salt.

STEPHEN GLOVER: I deeply resent the Americans sneering at our health service - but perhaps that's because the truth hurts
| Mail Online
: "But whatever the failings and excesses of the American system, the statistics suggest that it delivers better outcomes than the NHS when dealing with serious illnesses. I say 'suggest' because we should always be wary of comparing figures compiled in different ways in different countries.

In treating almost every cancer, America apparently does better than Britain, sometimes appreciably so. According to a study in Lancet Oncology last year, 91.9 per cent of American men with prostate cancer were still alive after five years, compared with only 51.1per cent in Britain.

The same publication suggests that 90.1 per cent of women in the U.S. diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2002 survived for at least five years, as against 77.8 per cent in Britain."
Lately I've been hearing a lot about the French health care system, but nobody honest is going to try to tell you that there aren't problems there too. I think the focus should be on avoiding other system's mistakes and moving forward, and it should be done in a thoughtful, honest fashion. Rushing in because you have the political muscle to push it through is a bad idea, especially when the congresscritters admit that they haven't even read it.

There's an App for that!

SILENCING DISSENT? There’s An App For That!…:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Neither bitter nor surprised

This is a pretty good analysis of the situation G1 owners face, and I'm not surprised:
T-Mobile G1 owners: Don’t expect any future Android updates: "

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but someone has to say it. If you currently own a T-Mobile G1, your days of Android updates are numbered. In fact, cupcake might have been your last treat. Users should not expect to receive the Donut update in its full form.


“I don’t think that anybody… can precisely answer your question at the moment. Size remains a constant concern, not just for the G1 but also for other devices.” Jean-Baptiste Queru, Android Software Engineer


“I don’t believe that has been decided yet, and ultimately it will be a decision made in conjunction with the carrier. It is even possible that some carriers may want the update and others won’t. There will come a time in the near future when we won’t be able to fit the latest release on the G1 internal flash.” Dave Sparks, Android Software Engineer


Based on all the information I have, I’m just going to assume no more updates for the G1 till I hear something different. You would be wise to start thinking the same thing to avoid being disappointed.


Why is the G1 going to stop getting updates?


The limited storage space of the G1 is the single reason its days are numbered. It is a bit of a no-win situation. No one will admit it, but the small storage space could have been the reason Cupcake was slow in coming.


“Where the situation is really tricky is that the system partition on the US G1 was already filled to the brim with cupcake, and we were routinely flirting with build sizes that were a few dozen kB under the limit (or several MB over…), which means that even small changes to the core platform could very easily push the system size over the limit and staying under the limit took some effort”. Jean-Baptiste Queru, Android Software Engineer


This is one of the chances you take as a first adopter, but all of us who made Android a hit deserve big props. If the G1 hadn't flown there wouldn't have been the massive rush to market that we'll see at the end of this year.

Cupcake was the really important one to me. It added critical bluetooth and bug fixes, as well as setting up the framework for developers. My only real fear is that newer updates and applications will not run on my Android 1.5 phone after 2.0 rolls out in December or January. I hope to see Donut on my phone, but if it doesn't happen I won't be crushed.

YouTube - "FLAG YOURSELF!" Campaign

YouTube - "FLAG YOURSELF!" Campaign: ""

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Echo Chamber

Ed Brayton lambasts Investors Business Daily for this quote:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

He says:

There's just one tiny little problem with this: Stephen Hawking was born and raised in the UK and has lived there all his life. He teaches at Cambridge. That's in the UK. This ranks up there with the French not having a word for entrepreneur.

The IBD has already corrected the article, and noted the correction (which is crucial to honesty) but I think their editors missed a crucial word:  “Now”.

According to Wikipedia Hawking was diagnosed at the age of 21.  He was born in 1942, and so his diagnosis came in 1963.  Ed and his commenters seem to be assuming that the British NHS has remained unchanged since it’s inception in 1948.  It should be elementary to assume that there have been some significant changes in even the 46 years since Hawking’s diagnosis.

And there are more changes on the way.  Ask yourself:  Are you healthy enough to be denied health care by a government source with no other recourse?

One commenter hits the nail on the head:

Actually, on reflection, I'm going to be scrupulously fair to the Investor's Business Daily. Stephen Hawking, IIRC from a documentary I saw a while back, does not rely solely on the NHS for his treatment. As a wealthy individual (thanks to being a best-selling author), he is in a position where he can employ a live-in nurse to cater to his needs and thus the care he receives is not necessarily typical for a Motor Neurone Disease sufferer in the UK.

He does go on to mention that his own father has no complaints about his care under the NHS.  That’s fantastic, but again the question is “would he get that care if newly diagnosed?”

Honestly, I don’t think Hawking is the best example anyway.  His father was a doctor, and in many ways he was born as part of the upper class.  He went to Oxford, for crying out loud. 

So here’s a question for you intrepid class-warriors out there:  Would a Down Syndrome baby born to an immigrant, low income mother get the same treatment?  If you think the answer is yes, you haven’t been paying attention.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What Fresh Hell?

Seriously, how can anyone say this with a straight face?
Michigan madness | Washington Examiner: "Case in point: Democratic State Chairman Mark Brewer. Ordinarily a pretty savvy political operator, Brewer is now suggesting five ballot propositions for the 2010 ballot. Their aim apparently is to improve the lot of Michigan citizens. But the result, as anyone with an iota of sense can see, would be to inflict horrifying damage on an already staggering state economy."
Read the whole thing for a list of the horrors he wants to unleash on the private sector.

This points to a complete ignorance of how economies work. What makes Brewer think there would be any businesses left after the dust from his proposal settled?

My biggest fear is that the Michigan Republican Party is so concerned with not seeming hostile to "The People" that they're likely to pass anything.

Not to detract from the point of my rant, but the MI Repubs seem to be binary in that they're either "Democrat Lite" or "Screw 'em Harder Businessmen".

Monday, August 10, 2009

The White House Wants YOU!

The White House has decided that it's now a good idea to inform on your fellow citizens. Not everyone agrees:
Dissent is patriotic - not: "'I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your predecessor asked Americans to forward e-mails critical of his politics to the White House,' Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, wrote in a letter to President Obama. 'I suspect that you would have been leading the charge in condemning such a program.'"
I honestly can not understand how the same people who panicked over Terrorism Threat Levels and government wire tapping are willing to instigate a program for informing on those with a different opinion.

For the record, I expect to be reported to Flag@whitehouse.gov very soon, but I'm also wondering what they use for a spamfilter, because it could easily be the most repeated email address in the country right now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book Burning

Remember those old Mickey Mouse cartoons that are so strange to us now, relics of an earlier age and a different mindset? You won't find many books from that era:
under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute. Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing—at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse
Is the objective really to protect people? Is there that much paint, or that many cases of sickness caused by the few artifacts of our past that we have left?

The Shoe is on the other foot

Just found this link. The irony is that this little handbook is almost precisely what the TEA partiers are already doing.

Oh, and they learned it from the left over the last 8 years.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Government sticks it’s nose in

Apparently there’s been enough noise about Apple’s rejection of the Google Voice app that it’s gotten the attention of the FCC.  Here’s what Amazon’s Aric Annear had to say:

There's two sides to this inquiry business.  Personally, I come down on the side of this being a very good thing, though admittedly perhaps for the wrong reasons.  Specifically, the inquiry will hopefully lead to at least a little more transparency in how apps get approved or rejected.  Back when the iPhone App Store first opened, developers joked about the seemingly random approval process for getting applications into the store.  Now, as the iPhone radically gains market share and inspires developers to expend real time and sweat and financial resources in a heavily competitive environment, no one's laughing anymore. Frustrated developers (and consumers) are beginning to abandon the platform as their inquiries about rejection and request for useful feedback go completely ignored--since there's no way whatsoever to know in advance if your app is going to be accepted, expending serious development resources on the iPhone begins to look more and more like a bad bet.

I tend to disagree that this is a good thing.  The bolded section above references developers and users abandoning the platform and that’s a great example of the market at work.  Apple should be allowed to make any business decision it wants, and if that limits their growth then so be it.

Shame at my bias

Lately I've been filling my subscription list at Youtube with channels that I think are amusing. Politics rarely gets into the mix because I prefer to read that sort of thing at my own pace.

Today I ran across this video:



YouTube - Carnahan on Cash for Clunkers

I put The Dana Show on my list of subscriptions. Is it because I thought it was effective reporting? Is it because I thought her commentary was on point? Or, as I'm afraid, was it because she's a pretty girl?

I'm inclined to think I was interested because of the first two reasons, and the fact that she's attractive made it easier to click the button.

I blame evolutionary biology.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Popular

Look at this screen clip. Not telling you where I found it, but I bet you can guess:

Wow, people seem to be interested. Not I, however. I would be SOOO busted.

Dig Deep

The campaign promise to not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year is fading into obscurity. The only surprises are that some people are surprised, and that others still don't believe it.
Asked about raising taxes on the middle class on Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” White House economist Larry Summers wouldn’t repeat Mr. Obama’s pre-election promise. “It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out no matter what,” Mr. Summers said—except, apparently, when his boss is running for office. Meanwhile, on ABC’s “This Week,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also slid around Mr. Obama’s vow and said, “We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically. And that’s going to require some very hard choices.”
How much will it take to open peoples eyes? Wouldn't it have been better to not run up such a deficit in the first place?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sauce for the goose

Selective outrage indeed.

Get your whole family up to speed

Easy Entry:
End User: Windows 7 Family Pack prices, Anytime Upgrade details: "The upcoming Windows 7 Family Pack will be priced at $149.99, and it will be available for purchase in stores upon the operating system's Oct. 22 launch, Microsoft said this morning.

The Family Pack, which will let PC users upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium on up to three existing Windows Vista or XP computers, represents a discount of more than $200 from buying the Windows 7 Home Premium upgrades individually."

Whither the office?

Working in a nonprofit volunteer organization has challenges, and this aticle at Ars Technica hits the nail on the head:

Go into any office today and you'll find people using Word to write documents. Some people still print them out and file them in big metal cabinets to be lost forever, but again this is simply an old habit, like a phantom itch on a severed limb. Instead of printing them, most people will email them to their boss or another coworker, who is then expected to download the email attachment and edit the document, then return it to them in the same manner. At some point the document is considered "finished", at which point it gets dropped off on a network share somewhere and is then summarily forgotten.

People keep doing this, but it is an astoundingly awful way to work. Here are just a few of the problems:

  • People sometimes forget to attach the document to their email.
  • The document can be too large—especially long documents with lots of images—and can clog up the email server.
  • Nobody knows what edits were made and by whom. Sure, you can turn "Track Changes" on, but as it transforms your document into a horrible illegible mess, most people very quickly turn it off again.
  • Nobody has any idea which is the most recent version of the document. This leads to amusing email flame wars where people insist that you adopt version control for your file names, which nobody ever does because they are too busy arguing about what the syntax should be. Even if you do manage to get version control, you are still never sure if you have the most recent version.
  • People save the document in some directory on their hard drive and then forget where it is. The usual solution to this is to email the author again and ask them to resend it.
  • People miss the email (usually because there are far too many emails in a day) and claim to have never received the document in the first place.

Even if you somehow manage to survive all these pitfalls and your document reaches the Holy Land of $some_random_network_share, your troubles are just beginning. Now nobody knows where your document is, so they have to pester you to tell them.

Changing habits is the worst part. Everyone wants everything in a specific folder, but being able to search is typically much more efficient. The difficulty is that you have to have the keywords. There's one very funny story where we were trying to find the electronic file for a program book, and literally searched everywhere we could think of. Naturally, the file was called "PB."