Saturday, February 28, 2004

And in the Techno World

Ah, will be hard to resist this new printer from Canon. Due out in May. Borderless 13x19" prints in under 3 minutes. 8 inks, 6,144 nozzles, 2 picoliter droplets, Firewire and USB 2.0. Not bad. Will have to upgrade to XP's SP1 (dreadful thought), but will be worth it I guess to have this baby crank out some monster prints. May just wait until SP2 comes out and do it all at once. Think it is due out in the not too distant future. May jump yet at that new Nikon D70 - will wait and see what others experience with that first though.

DxO is a hot new product that looks quite promising. Noticed it in a newsletter from Imaging Resource. Promises to dramatically enhance image quality by automatically eliminating chromatic aberration, blur, vignetting and noise. You can try it out on a few pictures at the DxO site.

Trillian Pro has a new patch out 2.011. It doesn't get any better than Trillian for an IM, especially if you take advantage of all the plug-ins (stocks, weather, newsfeeds, to do tasks, and on and on). If you don't know what an IM is, just skip this. (They also have a free version with less features - Trillian lets you connect to your friends at msn, aol, yahoo, icq all through the same IM).

Roboform Pro is now up to version 5.61. The pro version will set you back $30 (a pittance for a program used this often) which will allow you unlimited passwords. The freebie version will grant you 30 passwords (if you're a light user of the Internet). Offers encrypted passwords as well. This really is a highly useful tool - used to be totally free, but that has kind of gone the way of the dinosaur. 

You do have the Google Toolbar , don't you? I would hope so. Another one of those indespensable tools. Free and this newer version offers a pop-up blocker, in case you are using IE as your Internet browser (IE is a bit slow to come around to the times). You can also look at all the other tools Google offers by clicking here You can also get a popup blocking browser by using Mozilla or by using MyIE2 . MyIE2 gives you all the advantages of IE with all the tools of Mozilla (surely debatable to those who use Mozilla). The popup blockers and especially the tabs features of these 2 browsers make your Internet experience completely different and better. I've used both Mozilla (1.3.1) and MyIE2 and have gotten used to MyIE2, but either will do the trick. Some things display better in IE than in Mozilla, which is why I stuck with MyIE2. Your choice.

If you have one of these "tabbed browsers" set up to open links in new "tabs", then as you've been reading these paragraphs, each time you could click on one of the links and a new tab would be opening with that window's information, all the while you continued to read here. By the time you finished reading here, the information is downloaded and ready to be read in the new tabs. All you have to do is click on them. Absolutely wonderful (ah, the little things that get me all excited!). All of these programs are easy to download and install.  

Like Free Magazines?

Check out Free Biz It asks you to fill out some information about your job (generic info). Make something up. Once you're signed on, then periodically you will get emails asking if you would like a free year's subscription to various magazines. I've gotten everything under the sun - from Sports Illustrated to Stuff to Newsweek, Saveur, etc, etc. No credit card info required. Once the year's subscription expires, then you'll get a renewal notice which you can choose to use or disregard. They also offer from time to time free digital magazines (I'm currently getting Barrons, Foreign Policy, US News and World Report, Handheld Computing, PC magazine). They're identical to the print magazine, except you download them and view them in a slick free viewer. If you use a spam filter on your email, you may want to watch it carefully for a bit to make sure it's not disgarding these free offers. Once you see one, if you mark it as "Friend", then you won't have a problem. If you don't use a spam filter, disregard this.

Each time they send you an offer , you have to go to the website and go through the same ol' questionaire asking about your job, etc. They'll offer you some other stuff, which 99% of the time I say no to. You have to look closely to find the "no" buttons sometimes (watch out for the Literary Guild offers). But all this is a small price to pay for the free mags - in my case, they are passed out to Guests at our Inn, so I'm sure that is of benefit to the magazine publishers. It's peanuts to the publishers and good advertising. So, enjoy your reading! (I get nothing out of this, so don't think I'm hitting you up for something. :) I'll save that for my wild salmon offerings and audio books. :)  

Friday, February 27, 2004

Your Choice for VP?

-- Assuming Kerry is chosen at the Convention, whom amongst the following 3 do you think would be the best bet? Edwards (lack of experience and foreign policy experience, but strong with common man) ? Bill Richardson (Gov of NM) - strong on Foreign Policy - speaks fluent Spanish (raised in Mex.City) - would bring possibly very strong Hispanic vote (Florida) or Dick Gephardt (strong on jobs - could bring Missouri, Ohio and similar states that have been hardhit by job loss into the fold) ? Or perhaps someone else I haven't mentioned? Click on the comments link below to post your view.

-- Paul Krugman discusses The Trade Tightrope - The point is that free trade is politically viable only if it's backed by effective job creation measures and a strong domestic social safety net. And that suggests that free traders should be more worried by the prospect that the policies of the current administration will continue than by the possibility of a Democratic replacement.

Put it this way: there's a reason why the two U.S. presidents who did the most to promote growth in world trade were Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, while the two most protectionist presidents of the last 70 years have been Ronald Reagan and, yes, George W. Bush.

-- Dennis Hastert today is calling on a curtailment of the 9/11 commission. Bush is saying that he approves a 60 day extension, but many are suspicious that Hastert is doing the "heavy lifting" for GW on this one and is trying to prevent further disclosing. Bush has agreed to sit down with the 2 chairmen of the commitee for 1 hour, but not before the entire panel. Hate to tell them, but 1 hour goes pretty quickly, when about all you can say is , well, uh, duh...., well, let's see - what date did you say this thing happened?

Harry Potter author becomes a billionaire. Not bad for someone who started writing these books at the corner cafe, because she couldn't afford heat in her apartment. The list of billionaires has now grown to 587, an increase of 111. There's hope for me yet! Just a few more investments and I should be there. LOL

Richard Grasso says no way is he giving back 139 million to the Big Board. Hey, if they were stupid enough to give it to him, why should he?

-- Bob Hebert makes some good points with his Bliss and Bigotry article in the Times today. In a world beset by ignorance and poverty and suffering, a world wracked with wars and terror attacks and ethnic strife of every kind, it seems crazy to be twisting ourselves into knots over the desire of good men and women to transcend the prison of themselves and affirm their love for another by marrying.

That kind of desire is a good thing, isn't it?

--- Before we keep pouring money into schools and "education", maybe it's time we realize that it's not so much the physical things our kids need. Sure computers for everyone are nice, bright and shiny buildings, all that stuff. But that's just what it is - stuff. What kids really need are quality teachers. Kids in America can be just as bright as elsewhere, but it requires top-flight teachers like Rosemary Fryer . America needs to spend that money on finding and encouraging great teachers first and foremost. Anything else is lip service to education. Ask yourself how many truly great teachers you had? I suspect you can count them on one hand. (I can count 2 truly great ones).

-- Going to England anytime soon? Even if not, you should check out this site which will tell you all about English Pub Etiquette . You'll be a bloomin' expert!

-- Need your Sinuses sucked out? Ask your pharmacist! Yikes! How about an arterial aneurysm? No problem - take a seat buddy!

Link of the Day:
Can't get enough of photography? Check out these Photo Blogs . 

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Stick a Pin in It!

Just thought I would remind all my visitors to click on the little button above this post and place your pin on the map. You can remain anonymous or post your website/blog so others can pay you a visit! Would like to know see where all my visitors are coming from!


Tune in to CNN tonight to see Larry King moderate the Dems debate from LA. Kerry, Edwards, Kucinich, Sharpton - the field narrows. Maybe it will get more interesting now. But most likely, Sharpton will once again carry the night - he seems to be the only one who puts a fresh face on each debate. Maybe we should be voting for Dave Barry instead?

Thomas Friedman points out that there's some good things about Indians having all those jobs, too. Read the flip side . JadooWorks has decided to produce its own animated epic about the childhood of Krishna. To write the script, though, it wanted the best storyteller it could find and outsourced the project to an Emmy Award-winning U.S. animation writer, Jeffrey Scott — for an Indian epic!

Rosie O'Donell is getting hitched in SF today. Good for you Rosie. I'm not a big fan of Rosie, but she will draw some attention to the absurdity of these discriminatory actions.

And on the weird front:

-AP - German prosecutors said Thursday they are investigating a student for stealing electricity after he plugged his laptop into a train station electrical socket and used 0.2 euro cents, or a quarter of a U.S. cent's worth, of power.

Now it's time to go stock up the fire as another blizzard hits the mountains - damn those caterpillars anyway!

Quote of the Day:
"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
Steven Weinberg

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Snow on it's Way Again

Just noticed that the Thursday forecast is calling for 6-10" of snow. Man, just when the driveway finally got cleared off and here we go again. I can't tell you how many times this has happened this year. Was going to go to the movies today and see the "Passion", but decided not to at the last moment. Looks like I won't be going anywhere tomorrow, either.

You ever get a bad burn? Next time, dip it in mustard! No mustard handy? Try iced tea! Crazy? Don't knock it till you've tried it. Picked up those tips from Terry and Joe Graedon of the People's Pharmacy fame. Joe's like a God to me. (I picked up a tip from his book years ago that 4 aspirins every 3-4 hours would kill the pain of a severe sunburn and that's the truth! After being flayed alive on the white sand beaches of Florida a number of times, you can appreciate why I feel this way!) Caught them for a few moments on an NPR fund drive. If you want to know more, you can check out their web site .

Watched a very good Larry King Live last night. They had SF Mayor Newsome on along with Senator Musgrave of Colorado, a Minister and a gay Actor/Producer. I'm telling you - this gay marriage debate drives me bonkers every time I see it. We're going to amend the Constitution so we can encourage discrimination? Give me a break. If the Church wants to drive away more people, sure seems like this is the way to do it. They make themselves out to be hypocrits. The Constitution has been amended over the years to bring women, blacks and young people into fuller citizenship. President Bush's amendment would be the first adopted to stigmatize and exclude a group of Americans.... a majority of Americans understand what President Bush does not: the Constitution is too important to be folded, spindled or mutilated for political gain. (Editorial - NY Times)

Cut Social Security? Yep, that's what Greenspan thinks is the thing to do. Boy, reduce taxes on the rich and then whack social security benefits. Yep, seems like a compassionate thing to do.

And on the Strange Side Today: (courtesy of Yahoo News)
- BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A Hungarian TV hostess sat naked Wednesday to announced she is running for a seat in the European Parliament as candidate of the upstart Union Party. (Think Hilary's up for this?)

- AP - A young scientist says cat drool appears to be cleaner than that of dogs. Lacey Lafromboise, a fifth-grader at Turtle Mountain Elementary School in Belcourt, earned a trip to the Native American Science Fair in Albuquerque, N.M. by proving that her two dogs have more bacteria in their mouths than her two cats. (My cat's fur smells great after a good lick job! :)

-AP - Put this one in the "there-oughta-be-a-law" category. A bill introduced in the Georgia House Wednesday would require twice as many toilets in women's restrooms as in men's rooms (Yep, our lawmakers at work!)

- Vietnam's largest city has seen a surge in fish bone choking incidents after an outbreak of bird flu made chicken scarce and increased consumption of seafood (They should stick to sardines)

- A 64-year-old priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal possession of $50,000 stolen from his Long Island parish — cash police found at his apartment along with a pistol, pornography and Nazi paraphernalia. (Bet his sermons are interesting!)

Quote of the Day:
"We live in an age when pizza gets to your home before the police."
Jeff Marder  

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


You'll notice at the top right of this blog where it says "Blogsnob Random Blog", there is now a link to a random blog that will appear each time you load the page. So click on it and be surprised! Sometimes you find some pretty cool blogs, sometimes they're in a language, you won't even understand!  

Bush Moves to Shore up his Base

GW today struck out against gay marriages today asking for a constitutional amendment to ban them. "On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard." Voice of the People? How about the voice of GW and his conservative base?

"Decisive and democratic action is needed because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country" Serious consequences? Such as? Once gays are married, what are they going to do? Protest, picket the White House, start attacking heterosexuals? Gee, how many times have you heard of homosexuals attacking heterosexuals? And now that they're married, I suspect their rage will know no bounds. Yeh, right.

"Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. " Please explain to me how gay marriages destabilizes society? Gay parents can't raise children? Oh yes, I forget - gay behavior is learned and thus there will be even more gays running around! Yikes, can't let that happen! If it is learned, wonder how a kid growing up in a heterosexual household, turns out gay? Maybe the tooth fairy really was a fairy? Damn, better come up with a new fairy tale.

"Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all." No, it is meddling in peoples' affairs and it sure as hell doesn't recognize the interests of the gay community. "Our government should respect every person and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities. We should also conduct this difficult debate in a matter worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger. In all that lies ahead, let us match strong convictions with kindness and good will and decency." Oh yes, I like that last part especially. I'm sure gays who have had their basic rights denied, will feel the same way.

Let's face it, GW is just trying to turn the heat away from his other failed policies and is trying to shore up his conservative base before the election. (It does disturb me though that polls suggest that most Americans don't want gay marriages - we are so afraid of people different than ourselves, whether they be minorities, homosexuals,etc - nothing new since the beginning of time , of course, but sad, nonetheless). Pretty much the same way as he seated Pryor on the bench the other day. And he's probably hoping he can drag the Dems into this debate and get them off of his failed jobs program, his mess in Iraq, his attack on the environment and on and on. I would get a very good chuckle if this all backfired in his face. Sorry, but in my book , the government doesn't belong in this issue. For a very well written argument written about this, look at Clark Schpiell's commentary . And for a rather biting and funny look at the Bush program, check out Arianna's column . 

Monday, February 23, 2004

Social Responsibilty - Taking Away Dad's Car Keys?

If you have an older parent who is still driving, do yourself a favor and read this article in the Christian Science Monitor . I and my brothers made the mistake of not taking action some years ago and had to listen to the tragic news that our Dad had crossed a busy highway and had not seen someone coming. My mother, riding as passenger, was killed and my father injured.

Fortunately, no one else was killed. But the driver of that other car now has to live the rest of their life knowing that they killed someone, even though it wasn't their fault. My Dad had had other accidents in the past and had even totaled his own car , pulling out into traffic when he didn't have the room to do so. We had all ridden in the car with him and had witnessed scary moments of bad decision-making and poor reflexes. Yet somehow none of us thought we could tell him, that enough was enough. We hoped his doctor might stop him - after all, he complained of double vision and was on heavy dosages of prednisone for an illness. It would have been nice if the doc had stopped him, but we should have taken action, as well. I think we also figured (hoped?) he would just be lucky enough to somehow not hurt anyone - Wrong.

I think part of it was that my Dad had always been a very capable person and we all knew his car was his lifeline to his independence. We probably also were concerned for my mother's sanity, should he now no longer be able to drive and be forced to spend all day in the house! I think my Mother probably feared that taking those keys away would also rob him of his independence. To those of you with older parents, forget that! They'll learn to cope (and you may be saving countless lives). It was a mistake not to take those keys away. Had we been firm enough, I think he would have stopped. It would certainly have spared us all a tragic loss. So, for those of you who read this, honestly assess how your parents drive and if they're no longer skilled and possess good judgement, do yourself, them, and many others a big favor and take those keys away.

From the article:
Several years ago, as my own father approached 90, I worried about such accidents and that my dad, licensed in 1927, might cause an accident. I believed this after dozens of erratic rides with him in the driver's seat, brushing up against curbs at 30 mph, taking corners from the middle of busy streets, and cruising past stop signs. I was scared for him - and for others. I wanted him out from behind the wheel. I believed it was time.

The author of the article was lucky, as he didn't take action to take those keys away. Instead , his father decided on his own at age 90, that he had had enough. Of course, I reasoned, he'd had one too many close calls. Maybe he was scared, some near-miss forcing his decision. Certainly, I believed, it wasn't my hectoring. I'd been passive when I could have acted because I couldn't turn stool pigeon. In hindsight, I was thinking of myself when I should have been thinking of my dad - and so many other fathers, sons, and families on the road. 

The other side of Outsourcing

"I took him to a factory outlet center. In the back of the Rockport store they were having a clearance of shoes made in China or Indo-someplace. I bought him a pair of fine leather shoes for $24. You shoulda seen my boy's face light up."

Free trade is helping that lady make ends meet because her hard-earned dollar now has more buying power. If those fast-talking protectionists had their way, the high cost of living would deny her boy those shoes.

Just wanted to be somewhat balanced here and present the other side of the argument as suggested by William Safire - arch conservatist pundit for the NY Times. As you can see, it is a complicated issue.

Quote of the Day:
"If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside."
Robert X. Cringely, Info World Magazine 

Sunday, February 22, 2004


The Motley Fool's Credit Center features several mind-blowing statistics:

-Total consumer credit: $1.7 trillion.
-Credit card debt carried by the average American: $8,562.
-Total finance charges Americans paid in 2001: $50 billion.
-Percent of U.S. households deemed credit worthy by the lending industry: 78%.
-Number of credit card holders who declared bankruptcy last year: 1.3 million.

Now I would recommend you pay off your credit card each month in full and then you wouldn't owe any interest. Also a heck of a way to control your spending habits. But note this latest little twist on that - GE Rewards MasterCard holders who pay off their entire balance in a timely manner are actually penalized $25 per year. As this Yahoo! Finance article explains, a full 75% of credit card company revenues come from finance charges and responsibility is not profitable. Apparently other credit card companies are possibly expected to follow GE's lead. They sure want our moola, don't they? 

Sunday AM News

Kerry and Edwards
George Stephanopolus had Kerry and Edwards on discussing each other's programs. Too bad they weren't in the same room at the same time. It's hard to say who has the better plan - the problem will be pushing them through a congress. I think if folks expect the world to change dramatically overnight because Democrats are elected, they're probably setting themselves up to be disappointed. George did make the interesting point that even if Edwards should win all the rest of the States, it would be hard to beat Kerry. Why? Because in Democratic primaries, unlike Republican ones, delegates are based on a % of the vote. So if they run close, Kerry will get just about as many delegates as Edwards, making it impossible for Edwards to catch up. Of course if Edwards were to sweep the rest of the States, it might be close enough to lead to a brokered convention (which is what happens if neither candidate gets 40% of the delegates necessary to win on the first ballot). In Republican primaries, winner takes all. For more about how all this works, look at Vote Smart's web site.

When it comes to Edwards vs. Kerry, I think it will come down to experience vs non-experience and how the public views those two items. If you think experience is a positive, you'll vote for Kerry. If you think experience means only that politicians have been corrupted too long in Washington, then you'll vote for Edwards.

Well, of course Nader had to run, didn't he? Guess our write in campaign didn't pull it off. Ralph huffed and puffed about the audacity of the liberals to ask him not to run and basically I couldn't disagree with anything he said, except that he isn't facing reality, no matter how important it is to let an independent run. Are the Dems beholden to special interests just like the Republicans as Ralph suggests? I'm sure they are. Is it going to change soon? I doubt it. But I'll still take the "vision" of the Democratic party over the "blindness" of the Republican party. He obviously does not see a danger of 4 more years of Bush. I personally don't think it's worth risking. It will be interesting to see where Dean's "angry left" supporters go. That probably has MacAuliffe (Dem Nat'l Party chairman) sweating. Ah, politics - endlessly fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

Friedmann goes to Bangalore (India's Silicon Valley) and Meets the Zippies
What are zippies? Find out here. They won't put any zip in your life, I can tell you that! Well not at the moment anyway! Either way, managing this phenomenon (outsourcing) will require a public policy response — something more serious than the Bush mantra of let the market sort it out, or the demagoguery of the Democratic candidates, who seem to want to make outsourcing equal to treason and punishable by hanging. Time to get real.

Quote of the Day:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Dr. Seuss