Carnivore redux | Yawn

Filed under: — menk @ 9:56 am

I personally believe that in this world of terrorists and the like, the Government needs to have access to worldwide communications technologies for collection of communications to/from suspected bad guys. They aren’t reading my e-mails (too much spam) and they are free to read my blog.

Keep in mind if you truely object to your communications being potentially scooped up you may be guilty of doing bad things or not but in either case you can always use encrypted e-mails. (Most terrorists probably already do.)


Apprentice to another blowhard

Filed under: — menk @ 9:27 pm

Apparently working for one of the world’s most outspoken and ill-informed men is not enough for Verna Felton. She wants to be the apprentice to another of the world’s most well known blowhards.

Verna already has a marketing job at Microsoft so ultimately her organization reports to Steve Balmer well known for spouting off on everything from Microsoft Windows inherent security to the evils of Open Source. Now she wants to work for Donald Trump a blowhard and chest thumper rivaling Ballmer for self promotion and babbling. ‘Verna why don’t you get a real job?’


Fat Kids Blame the Food

Filed under: — menk @ 3:12 pm

So a three Judge panel revived the lawsuit against MacDonald’s by two fat kids in New York. The kids claim that McDonald’s made them obese through deceptive advertising. Perhaps Ronald McDonald also was there forcing them to down the burgers and fries day in and day out.

When will we as a society start taking these lawyers and plaintiffs to task for pushing these time consuming and expensive lawsuits with no merit. When will we come to the conclusion that many people’s problems are a result of their own actions.

As a society we should stand up and point out to the lawyers and plaintiffs like that no-one forced these kids to eat (and eat and eat) they did that themselves. I for one believe that the only case they should have is to sue their parents since they stood by watching these kids blow up like small versions of the Goodyear blimp and were funding their fast food habits.

Hey Kids: Drop the suit, stop eatting like pigs and get some exercise!


Beaner Pictures Round II

Filed under: — menk @ 11:55 am

Due to popular demand Steve Tambini has scanned some additional photos of the days at BT and they are posted for your enjoyment.

BTW: Shouldn’t Steve go in the bowl for wearing this sorority sweatshirt?


The Human Clock

Filed under: — menk @ 7:30 am

The Human Clock - A Photo for Every Minute of the Day A very interesting concept site for the Clockwatchers out there. Take a look at the Digital Version.


Wired News: Saving Seed Is Latest Tech Piracy

Filed under: — menk @ 7:30 am

Wired News: Saving Seed Is Latest Tech Piracy

It has come full circle now. The license restrictions on bio-engineered seeds now are substantially similar to software licenses. The critical factors are protection of the IP. Just because you bought the rights to sow the seeds and sell the resulting product does not allow you to save seeds from the crop for replanting and/or resale.


Beaners Scanned BT Photos

Filed under: — menk @ 12:44 pm

I just got an e-mail from Steve Tambini (a former BT president, Fellow Fossil, and Family Man) he went through some old boxes of photos and located some classic photo’s from BT in the 1979-1981 timeframe. He scanned them and sent them to me for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy! Thanks Steve!


Like Legos?

Filed under: — menk @ 1:00 pm

So you have way too much time on your hands and you are addicted to Legos. I have an idea! How about building multiple desktop computer cases out of those colorful little blocks!

Sound like a waste of time? Well waste some of yours and check it out.

Mac Mini How Big?

Filed under: — menk @ 12:23 pm

The Mac Mini is garnering significant interest and is looking to be a huge hit!

Mac Mini

Enter the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field and watch the keynote at Mac World after you have watched the iLife App demos in the first 40 Min you will be headed to an Apple Store. (I guarantee it!)

Webcast is Quicktime or MPEG4

Prince Harry offends the world

Filed under: — menk @ 7:43 am

So the world is up in arms about Prince Harry attending a costume party wearing a Nazi uniform costume. His picture was taken at the party and showed up onthe front page of a UK rag. So far there have been calls from the former Director of the UK Defense Department for Harry to drop plans to attend one of the Military colleges and general shock and idignance.

Frankly, I find the whole thing overblown and misdirected. To believe that Harry went off on his own and did this is ridiculous. He probably had help creating the costume and dressing by handlers and handlers of handlers so didn’t anyone else think about the possible backlash?

Tasteless and stupid - yes

Indicative of his feeling towards Jews - Unlikely

What do you think?


Mac goes mainstream

Filed under: — menk @ 3:50 pm

The MacWorld keynote with Steve Jobs rolled out the products that were rumoured and eagerly awaited by consumers worldwide. Now even the most tightfisted PC users can migrate to a platform that is not a virus and spyware magnet.

Among the announcements were:

Mac Mini

Mac Mini: a small system that is offered for under $500 and can use either Apple monitors and key board or PC users can use their keyboard or monitors. one really cool aspect of this small system is that with an optional adapter it can output video either s-video or composite video and it can support bluetooth. If configured with these options it could be a terrific machine to allow Internet surfing and computing from across the room with a wireless keyboard and mouse, on a large screen TV.

iPod Shuffle

iPod Shuffle: very small, low cost (starting at $99) iPod using flash memory.

Maryland Legislature overides Veto

Filed under: — menk @ 8:51 am

The Maryland legislature gathered enough votes to override Gov Ehrlich’s veto of the malpractice reform bill. Far from a perfect bill it provides relief to physicians in Maryland for the yearly double digit increases in malpractice insurance premiums.

The average increase in insurance premiums for doctors in Maryland was expected to be 33 percent this year without this bill but nonetheless Gov Ehrlich wanted to trash this bill since it was funded by a tax on HMOs.


Apple rules the Day - MacWorld SF 2005

Filed under: — menk @ 8:30 am

Today the MacWorld Expo opens in San Francisco. As is tradition when the stakes are high and big announcements are to be made the keynote will be made by Steve Jobs. The rumors abound regarding the specifics of the announcements. Will it be a sub-$500 Mac, a larger capacity iPod Mini, a flash memory based iPod, or all of the above?

All tech saavy consumers should anxiously await the announcements as over the years Apple Computer’s moves in the marketplace have been a harbinger of changes across the industry. From the original Macintosh graphical interface, the first iMac’s industry leading design and lack of a floppy drive to the introduction of the original iPod and iTunes music store. Steve Jobs is a showman and his vision for Apple has served as a beacon that has guided even the visionless monopoly that is Microsoft.

Be sure and watch the continuing skyrocket that is Apple’s stock price rising over 200% in the past year. Earnings will be announced on Wednesday so expect a double bump this week on the stock.


Ehrlich vetos Malpractice reform

Filed under: — menk @ 4:08 pm

Robert Ehrlich has gone ahead this morning and vetoed the malpractice reform legislation. Perhaps Mark Warner (D) the current Governor of Virginia is interested in coming to run in Maryland after his term is up. He has demonstrated that he can work with the state legislature there to get things accomplished.

Is there Political Malpractice?

Filed under: — menk @ 8:30 am

Maryland’s current Governor, Robert Ehrlich (R) is failing to get anything accomplished during his term. He was elected Governor in November of 2002. Since that time he has yet to figure out how to work effectively with the Maryland General Assembly which is dominated by democrats. As a lifelong republican, it would be more comfortable for me to blame the democrats for this lack of progress but having watched Ehrlich for the past two years I have to place the blame squarely on his shoulders.

It seems to me the Governor has failed to understand that he needs to work with the legistlature to actually get anything of consequence passed. Ehrlich seemed to spend the better part of a year and a half squandering political capital to try to get slot machines legalized in Maryland as the “solution to the states budget problems”. Personally I could not understand why it appeared that Ehrlich wanted to make this THE critical initiative of the term. It appears to me that Governor Ehrlich has been unwilling to compromise and as a result has gotten nothing.

The latest Debacle for Ehrlich is the move to address skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums that are plaguing doctors in our state and forcing many to re-evaluate whether to stay in the business of medicine. The sad state of the healthcare industry and specifically the issues with medical malpractice is something I have written on before as it’s near and dear to my heart given my wife’s career as a surgeon.

When Ehrlich indicated medical malpractice reform was his highest priority I was pleased since I have seen first hand the enormous escalations in malpractice insurance costs in Pam’s business. I should have known better however since Ehrlich is incapable of actually working toward a common goal with the opposition party so trouble was on the way. Rather than work on the problem and involve the democrats he spouts off to anyone that will listen that this is an important issue and needs to be addressed all the while basically stonewalling the democrats rather than engaging them.

For months Ehrlich and the legislature have been sparring about a key difference in how to fund the cash pool that will be used to reduce the cost of malpractice insurance for Maryland’s physicians. The democrats in the legislature want to actually collect a 2% tax on HMO’s that is already on the books but has not been actually required by the state. The Governor has been chest thumping for months that if the bill passes with this tax, he will veto the bill outright.

On December 19th Ehrlich announces that he will call a special session the Maryland legislature for December 28th. Ehrlich inks call for special session On the 21st with a flourish he inks the mandate for the special session in his office.

Needless to say, being called back in over the holidays did not endear Ehrlich with the legislature but they came back to work and rolled up their sleeves and formulated and passed a bill to address the malpractice mess. Since the bill requires the payment of the tax on HMO to fund the malpractice relief it now appears Ehrlich will veto it. The legislature may well overturn the veto but that remains to be seen. All in all this mess is in Ehrlich’s lap. He could have spent more time up front working the issues with the opposition and perhaps if he gave in on the HMO tax the overall bill could have been strengthened. But it would appear that where we stand now we can watch a man totally fail for the state, it’s physicians and his party.

I would like to personally say to Governor Ehrlich that this bill is not ideal but it’s better than the alternative (thanks to you that is nothing) so don’t veto it. If you do veto this legislation you can rest assured that for the first time in my life I will be going to the polls in 2006 to vote for a democrat for Governor of Maryland.


I was fired for blogging | Whine!

Filed under: — menk @ 4:40 pm

A flight attendant for Delta Airlines (Ellen Simonetti) claims she lost her job in late October for Blogging. The story she puts forth in CNET makes it more likely she was just let go as a problem employee. In her blog she put up pictures of her and others in the Delta Airlines crew in their uniforms and posts she published were essentially stories about her work (not all good).

Her employer put her on notice in September that she was being suspended for this activity and her answer to this was a sex discrimation lawsuit. (Why is the sexual, race … discrimination always the weak person’s response for being told they have done something wrong in the workplace?) Then she states with mock surprise in the CNET article: ‘Then, on Oct. 29, 2004, three weeks after I filed that discrimination complaint, I received a call from my supervisor. He advised me over the phone that my employment with Delta Air Lines had been terminated due to “inappropriate pictures in uniform on the Web.”’

Frankly Ellen, Your blog was lame and not a responsible and professional representation of your employer. If you hadn’t listened to some greedy lawyer and not played the sex discrimination card you might still be employed. But from this point forward I believe you will find your fifteen minutes of fame cost you considerably more. Good luck in your future endevours but based on my review of your writing skill you should avoid journalism as your next career.

Wired News: Worming Into Apple

Filed under: — menk @ 2:30 am

So it has now become publically known that in the early nineties a couple of guys (Ron Avitzur and Greg Robbins) were working on a project at Apple Computer were laid off. Unlike most people who would have moved on, this pair continued to show up for work essentially sneaking into the Apple campus to complete the project. The software they developed was ‘graphing calculator’ and to date has shipped on over 20 Million new macs.

The story is strange and compelling. Why did they do work so hard on a project unsanctioned by Apple and unpaid? Find out in Ron’s own words as he has posted the story to his website.


Coalition of the Confused

Filed under: — menk @ 4:31 pm

As I write this a small group of protestors calling themselves the Coalition Against Election Fraud is seeking to have the election results overturned. Even John Kerry is convinced that the election was fair and representative of the “people’s will”. Does that dissuade these whackos to stop wasting people’s time? Apparently not.

Since the evening of the election this small group of confused patriots has been holding vigil at Kerry’s home in Boston.

Conspiracy Theorists want the election overturned

Ok you clowns, stop wasting the taxpayers money by forcing the Government to acknowledge your crazy complaints and conspiracy theories and go back to walking around the city mumbling responses to the voices in your head.

Blogs take off

Filed under: — menk @ 6:30 am

According to the a recent study Blogs are becoming major source of information on the Internet. With over 27% of Internet users queried indicating that they read blogs.

Also according to this study I apparently fit the profile for the average blogger. “Blog creators tend to be young men who have broadband and are Internet veterans. Fifty-seven percent of bloggers are male and are relatively well off financially.”

CNet has a summary of the reports in a news story online.


Microsoft Spyware remover for Windows

Filed under: — menk @ 12:49 pm

So instead of actually solving the inherent flaws in Windows that make spyware a problem for virtually every Windows user, Microsoft is just buying a spyware remover. This makes no sense to me. Why can’t Windows actually just be made more secure? This strategy on behalf of Microsoft would be like General Dynamics making a submarine that leaks and instead of fixing it just buying Duct Tape for the existing customers.

It is not even clear at this point whether Microsoft will force customers to pay for this utility or whether it is provided at no cost. In any case even if GD provided their customers the duct tape for free it is unlikely the customers would be happy. So why are Windows users so willing to take the crap that Gates and company dish out?


Tsunami Aid - US shows the way

Filed under: — menk @ 9:40 pm

So a day after the Tsunami hits the coast in Asia and India, Jan Egeland some low level United Nations staffer (undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator) from Norway of all places calls the US ‘Stingy’. He even went so far as to suggest that western nations “would donate more to the relief efforts if taxes were raised.” Last time I heard Norway (or the UN for that matter) didn’t dictate US tax policy.

Jan Egeland (Jackass)

I am flat out tired of morons from across the globe thinking that every time something dire happens in the world the US taxpayer should shell out boatloads of cash to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in helping the victims of this tremendous disaster and their families. I believe that the aid should not come from my taxes but in fact from my pocket if I deem it a worthy cause. After assessing the situation as it was presented in the news (TV, Radio, and Internet), I like many Americans made a significant donation to the relief efforts. It may well not be my last but it will do for now until I better understand the specific organizations that need funds to assist in specific tasks.

As for the US role in supporting relief for this disaster, I highly applaud our nations approach! Sending military forces and assets we have deployed in the region to perform critical tasks like sustenance distribution engineering support and medical services is terrific. First it demonstrates that our military assets can be used for many purposes outside of war specifically. Secondly and more importantly the US Military can perform tasks that no other organization (Govt or Non-Gov) can handle. We have more helicopters on one ‘carrier’ in the Indian ocean than can be found in all of Norway I suspect. Finally funding these activities is more straight forward for the US Government. The cost is incremental since we pay for these personnel and assets anyway.

USS Lincoln (Aircraft Carrier)

“So Jan, the next time you feel compelled to suggest the Government here raise my taxes just keep your mouth shut and reach for your own wallet.”


Don’t ask ‘The Post’!

Filed under: — menk @ 1:05 pm

Dear Washington Post,

You Suck!


John Menkart

For years I have been getting more and more aggravated with the Washington Post newspaper. It is a biased liberal rag and has some of the weakest reporting on the planet. This weekend an article on Digital Music just seemed to me to be ‘the straw that broke the camels back’. I now can say with certainty that “the Washington Post is totally lame!”

Someone at the post needs a foot inserted up their ass if this article is considered of any value to the readership. The article describes itself: “Buying digital music can be confusing. On one hand, you have an alphabet soup of acronyms, all referring to varying formats. On the other hand, you have a slew of online retailers, each furiously competing for your hard-earned music dollar. And in the middle, you have an avalanche of players, each of which offer different features and work with different formats.

So what do you do? For starters, you can use this guide to figure out which digital music format is right for you.

Who ever heard of selecting a player based on format? Are they nuts? Virtually every player on the planet plays MP3s as well as other formats. The differences in the players is only minimally related to music format (which can be converted at almost anytime) In the article, they never cover the basics like how do you get digital music (online or from your collection of CD’s) or the fact that your quantity of music has a significant impact on your player selection. They never discuss MP3 and why digital rights management needs to be understood. In the end they only mention the vastly predominant player (iPod) in passing.

Feel free to view the article yourself and you will find it has no content and value whatsoever.

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