Friday, April 28, 2006

The French They Are a Funny Race

They fight with their feet, and... they build funny little cars that drive backwards with two steering wheels. Check out this video -- in one part you can see one guy sits facing forward (that would be towards the rear of the car) and has one steering wheel, while the other guy sits backwards and controls the other pair of wheels. The video has some surprised crowd shots as the hacked-up car zips around half-sideways.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Marketing to the Clueless

Spotted the following quote in an article about Intel's vPro technology:
Along with management and security features, Conroe gets Intel back to Basics. It's a very fast chip. Intel officials said Conroe-based desktops will run productivity applications over twice as fast as systems purchased last year based on the company's mainstay Pentium 4.
Hello? When was the last time you heard someone say, "Man, Word is really a dog on my machine. I'd really like for the red squigggly to show up faster when I mis-spell a word." Who cares how fast productivity applications run? And since when did their execution speed become a benchmark?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Two and a Half Percent

Awais and I were discussing Microsoft's annual revenue, which is apparently around $39 billion dollars. And, of course, they don't make physical products, unless you count the paper manuals, so their COGS is probably somewhere well south of $1B, leaving the greater part of that as play money.

We were curious as to how that compared to the Federal budget, so we looked it up. The (estimated) tax revenue from 2004 was $1,365B. Or, in other words, the money MS made was approximately 2.8% of the Federal revenue (not the budget, of course, because the U.S. spent $1,847B that year. Microsoft revenue was a mere 2.1% of that number).

Awais pointed out we would be better off simply levying an additional 2% tax on each citizen and having Microsoft give away their software for free.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rummy Under Fire

I read the following quote from this article in the Tracy Press :
Yet, three times as many troops should have been deployed to Afghanistan, and later to Iraq, to provide adequate security to these new democracies and to snuff out any remnants of insurgency. This is a textbook strategic blunder that haunts the Bush administration. But is Rumsfeld to blame?

The answer is, in a nutshell, yes. I've been reading the book Cobra II, about the planning for and execution of the invasion of Iraq. It starts off with the back-story of the war, so to speak, and early on, the military had estimated a force of 500,000 troops would be required to secure the country, based on existing doctrine and experience with past conflicts.

Rumsfeld unilaterally stated that that was far too large, and that a force of no more than 125,000 troops should be required.

The book promises to be interesting; I'll probably post more snippets as I work my way through it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Proud Parents

Went to the hospital over lunch to visit Keith and Katie and young Danger, now roughly six hours old. Parents were doing well, although Mom was still a little rocky from the after-effects of surgery.

Keith mailed out a photo with everyone still in their scrubs this morning; I expect it will show up on Danger's blog soon. After all, they have a laptop in their room, and the hospital provides wireless access... Ahhh, technology.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Criticism is Not Allowed

From an article on CNN:
Retired Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the retired generals' criticism is "inappropriate, because it's not the military that judges our civilian bosses."

So, let me get this straight -- our president engages in hare-brained military adventurism, and the people most qualified to give feedback on the effectiveness and execution of said adventures shouldn't comment, because it would be inappropriate??? Inappropriate for a retired General (that is, in other words, a civilian) to comment on the operation of a civilian government?

Okay, I give, Richard. What is the list of "appropriate" people that are allowed to comment on how well our government is working?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sunny Day

It's warm and sunny outside. I'm not sure what's wrong. It's supposed to be raining.

Had lunch with Marcus, an old college buddy of mine. He's moved back to the bay area from San Diego to work for a new start-up. Everybody's working for a start-up. If that isn't an indicator of the next boom cycle, I don't know what is.

Oh, and Keith brought his new Dell laptop into our office and left it on the desk next to my Powerbook... The thing is ginormous -- looks like a Star Destroyer sitting next to my 12". I look at these massive laptops and wonder who really wants to lug one of these monsters around, just to have a little bit more screen when you get there?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Impressions of Americans

Wonder what other people think of us? This video clip of "man on the street" interviews with the question "What are Americans like?"

The answer, overwhelmingly, is that we're loud, self-confident, and friendly. The word "brash" was used by almost a third of the people interviewed. Oh, and as the girl closes with, we're fat.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Picked up this interesting article off of Google News. It's an editorial from the heartland, and it sums up much of the discontent Bush is feeling from his own party. He's running into trouble because of the same factor that got him elected:

"The Base" doesn't like politicians.

In particular, they don't like slick-talking big-city shysters that twist words around, say one thing, and do another. Bush's appeal was that he was a straight-talking down-home country boy -- a man of the people. Now he's been outed doing the one thing that, according to the base, set him apart from his predecessor: using his office for personal gain.

(Related article from the Christian Science Monitor)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Debate on Roles in Marriage

Interesting article about a recent study coming out of the University of Virginia. One of the most contentious parts of the study, surely, is the assertion that an egalitarian, feminist marriage does not lead to greater martial satisfaction.
[The study] found that "traditional wives," who have lower expectations of marital equality in the household division of labor, are happier than wives with "gender egalitarian" ideals.

Would be interesting to read the original study. If I wasn't buried eyeball-deep in legal documents, that is.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Goodbye, Tom

Rep. Tom DeLay announced today that he will not be seeking re-election in november, and blaming the entire affair on liberal Democrats out to discredit him. Right, Tom. Your own actions had nothing to do with it. Your aide received illegal contributions from Abramoff without your knowledge, possibly while you were off contemplating how to re-draw the lines for the 22nd district to insure your re-election.

The Economist once reported DeLay as the dirtest man in American politics, based on the amount of contributions he received (Sen. Feinstein was also highly cited in the same article, demonstrating that this definately crosses the aisle. Also it appears times, or reporting, have changed since then, as Feinstein has raised more than twice as much). Apparently he was also famous for knowing where skeletons were buried and using those to keep his party in line.

So it's with a heavy heart that I watch DeLay go, not so gently, into the good night.

First Cloned Organ Transplant?

This article reports that Dr. Anthony Atala successfully created a replacement bladder from tissue samples of the patient's original bladder. The bladder was grown in a laboratory, on top of a biodegradable scaffold, and then surgically implanted in the patients, solving tissue-rejection problems found with transplants, as well as suitability problems found with creating replacements from other body tissues, such as intenstines.