Saturday, February 04, 2006

Follow-up on Speeding


I prattled on about speeding in a previous blog, and in particular how law enforcement seems bent on making it harder to get away with it.
Two news stories from this week caught my eye:


1. LA Police trying out "tracking darts" to avoid daily chases aired on local TV.

2. GPS-enabled speed controls, where speed limits maps are overlaid on the current location using GPS, which then automatically limits your speed (being tested in Canada).

I happen to think that the latter is asinine, since it fails to consider emergency situations that would call for someone to exceed the speed limit.

The tracking darts aren't necessarily a speed control mechanism, but would hopefully prevent some of the wacky, O.J.-like chase scenes that happen all to often in/around LA. But that'd be a heck of a lot of fun to be the shooter.



I wonder how long it would take for the paparazzi to get their hands on the technology -- then they wouldn't have to nearly kill celebrities just to take their picture. It'd make the world safer for Lindsay Lohan, not to mention the rest of us.

Gratuitous picture of Lindsay is required:

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And What Do They Spend On Kids' Education?

Ugh. I've got pre-college kids in very good public schools, but I'm at odds with my state over how public education is funded (I'm in a "privileged" county, so a large portion of my taxes pay for schools in "under-privileged" counties). So when I read some silly garbage like this, it makes me wonder how things would be better for all if the dollars were redirected JUST a bit to the right (from the Wall Street Journal):

If we told you that an organization gave away more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington and dozens of other such advocacy groups, you'd probably assume we were describing a liberal philanthropy. In fact, those expenditures have all turned up on the financial disclosure report of the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.

Must Have Been Some Crack Shots (or Crackpots?)

Marion Barry - former mayor of Washington DC who was caught smoking crack on tape during an FBI sting operation - was robbed at gunpoint by some "youths" who had helped him carry some groceries home.
I wonder if there is irony here -- perhaps they're robbing to buy crack from Barry's dealer.
So glad to hear he's still gainfully "employed" as an elected official in DC.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dead Again?

Trying to decide the appropriate label under which the following should be categorized... "Remind me never to get sick in Portugal", or "Thank God my Doctor went to school in the US":

Lisbon - A 95-year-old man was moved from a hospital mortuary to a care unit after he was heard coughing several hours after a doctor had declared him dead, Portuguese media reported.

Family members called an ambulance to bring Manuel Lino to a public hospital in the town of Abrantes, about 120km north-east of Lisbon, on December 1 because he was not feeling well, daily Jornal de Noticias reported on Thursday.

When Lino arrived at the hospital the doctor who examined him inside the ambulance said he could not find a pulse and ordered his body sent to the mortuary, it added.

"With great pain we left him there and returned home where we started preparing for the funeral," Lino's a relative, Joao Baco, explained.

Later that same day the family received a telephone call from an emergency services worker informing them that Lino was alive after all.

Lino, who had been bedridden before being taken to the hospital, was discharged on December 7 and spent Christmas with his family, Baco said.

Hospital officials said they had opened an inquiry into the incident. - Sapa-AFP

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Speeding Arms Race

I know it's been forever and a day since I last blogged, but I'm resolving to be more active or just dump the whole thing. I'm the sort of person whose life revolves heavily around work, so I've been somewhat hesitant to blog anything that might get back to the office. But since things are taking a dramatic turn in that department, I figured I might as well let loose. Stay tuned for potential tell-all stories to appear in the future. Until then,....


I'll admit it, I'm a speeder. Always have been, probably always will be. Maybe it's the result of being the youngest of 5 male siblings, where there was never a lack of competition. Or maybe it's just the thrill of going fast, or maybe the risk of getting caught that made driving more interesting than just getting from point A to point B.
So I've had a few tickets over the years, but luckily never so many at any one time to put my license status at risk. And of course I've always used a radar detector.
It's always been an arms race between speeders and law enforcement. I remember way back when the "Fuzzbuster" came out. Crude yet useful, it detected the X-band radars of the day. And over the ensuing years, enforcement technology evolved to K, Ka, and now laser detection. All the while, you could count on detector technology to keep reasonable pace.

But now there's a new sheriff in town, so to speak.

I just read in Wired about a British company named Astucia that has created an in-road speed detector, that can be essentially hidden under one of those round reflector disks that are used for separating lanes. It uses infrared to detect the speed of the car as it passes by, and then transmits it (along with a digital snap of the license plate) via GPRS cell network to a central automated ticketing system. Apparently the FBI, Homeland Defense, and Alabama DOT have all tested it already.

So they're clearly upping the ante with this stuff. Look for things to converge even more around this... namely, integration with vehicle control (via OnStar, etc.) to locate egregious offenders and possibly even (slowly) disable the automobile.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I'm Still Alive

Amazingly, I was able to run a new electrical outlet to the media room ceiling this weekend without killing myself or setting the house on fire. I rewarded myself with much alcohol,... laughing as I recalled how stupid I was for thinking it would be easy to thread a fish tape from the attic through a 3/4-inch hole in the back of the existing receptacle box 5 feet down. Managed to do it somehow, somthing I attribute to my steady hand and keen eye -- plus the requisite amount of swearing.

Laughter has always been my coping mechanism for job frustrations, and fortunately for me there has been an abundance of coworkers imbued with headliner stand-up talents. I came across an ancient email from one such individual, which brought uncontrollable cachinnation (look it up). I realize that blogs should be primarily original material, but I felt compelled to share.

To set the stage, our inept product marketing group (at the time) sent out a blanket email request asking whether there was revenue in the forecast tied directly to upcoming product releases. This was usually a hint that said products were NOT going to ship -- at least in our lifetime, but perhaps our grandchildren might have something to look forward to.

Without further ado, here is the genius at work:



Is there any revenue tied to the release of any [CompanyX] products? If so, please let me know immediately. I have [ProductA] down for $17M and [ProductB] down for $57M. Is there anything else? Oh, our lawsuit against [CompanyY] for patent infringement should bring $88M. And our beautiful, hand-painted collectors plates portraying the Life of Christ with bunnies will be delayed because of a problem with the Judas bunny sitting in the wrong location in the Last Supper. If this impacts any deals, please let me know. And the [CompanyX] Cap Snaffler and [CompanyX] Magnetic Key Holder have been taken off the market. I apologize for not telling anyone until now. If this impacts any deals, please let me know so that I can make a cooing sound.
And the [CompanyX] Solar System Accretion Disk has been delayed 1.5 million years due to some unexpected extra dark matter. The boys at the lab are a little red faced over this one. If this impacts any deals I need to know as soon as possible. The [CompanyX] Sea Monkeys will be released ahead of schedule thanks to some special work done by development over the holiday weekend.
Many thanks to them! [CompanyX] Sea Monkeys will be the replacement product for [CompanyX] Ant Farm which is now officially end-of-lifed. If this impacts any accounts (other than our 1994 contract with Satan) please email majordomo@netscape.jp immediately. Put "[CompanyX] Ant Farm"in the subject and "subscribe Your Name" in the body. The French office will be burnt to the ground and its employees shot as they run out into the street once the craziness from Q4 settles down. Be sure to email them your farewells and remind them not to use the elevator in the unlikely event of a fire. The Dante's Inferno-themed sales training will NOT occur due to its overtly religious meanings and some allergies to lava within the sales force.
Instead, we're super-excited to announce a new theme of "No Exit" this quarter. Everyone in sales will be locked in a room together for eternity.
This team building exercise in existential hell was a big success in helping Ingress's turnaround, and we're confident that it will help us similarly. Be sure to bring a change of clothes as--I'm sure you know--eternity is a long time! Effective June 1st, new pricing for the [CompanyX] "Hello My Name Is _____" Badges will be $10,000 for a 500-user pack, $50,000 for a 1,500 user pack. Above that, please bring the deal to the attention of your nearest VP or director. Pricing for the [CompanyX] Portable Arctic Weather Research Station will change as well. Details to follow.
[CompanyX] will continue to focus on what [CompanyX] does best, and I dare say that wouldn't be possible without you. Remember, there is no "U" in [CompanyX] unless you break the letters down into their component stems and curves.
And that would sort of be cheating if you think about it. My doors are always open. And when a door closes, God opens a window. Sleep on the left side. Keep your sword arm free.


Friday, May 06, 2005

At Long Last

It took me over 24 hours, but I finally completed the resume -- of course you have to factor in the usual amount of interruptions (phone calls, instant msgs, eating, sleeping, arguing with British expatriates, watching Michael Jackson Court TV, etc.). Now,... how to get someone whose opinion I value to review it? I guess I could just sit on it until the right opportunity comes up. No sense risking exposure.

Bigger question is where I could find another cush job like this. All frustrations about mismanagement aside, I can usually count on a decent meal with plenty of alcohol when I'm on the road. Might have to suckle off the corporate nipple until it dries up.

Just got a new home theater projector for the soon-to-become media room. Looks absolutely fabulous with the PS/2 attached -- have not connected any other video signals to it just yet. This is like having a child -- looks great on the surface, but then when you get one you find there's all this extra stuff you have to buy.... A/V amplifier, ceiling mount, speakers, HDTV tuner, universal remote, long cables and wiring, etc., etc..
Not sure I watch enough television or video to warrant all these extra purchases, but I guess I should be spending more time away from work anyway.

The fun part should be all the construction -- especially since there's electrical wiring involved (have to run an outlet in the ceiling). If you never see another entry from me again, it could mean that I'm lying in a crispy pile on the floor with a pair of uninsulated pliers in my hands. I wish I knew what "breaker box" meant, because all the instructions talk about fiddling with stuff in it first. I'm a software guy -- I prefer leave the hardware to some other goons.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Resumes Are a Beating

Refreshing the resume for the first time in 6 years. I suppose if you've read the previous blogs you're not likely questioning the timing (not to mention the fact that company executives are now provided full vest and 12-24 months salary in the event of "change in control" of the company). Man, what a BEATING it is. I'd sooner subject myself to hours of watching American Idol than spend 30 minutes on a resume. I mean, I KNOW I'm fabulous,... why should I have to justify that in words? Especially when I know (as a hiring manager myself) that all that no one reads the preamble -- just the durations at employers in a related industry. Who cares that you're on the neighborhood gardening committee?

Makes me wonder whether I could put just about anything in those unimportant resume zones...
"Proven ability to consume 7.3 lbs of sushi in one meal!"
"Only missed one meeting due to hangover"
"Selective ogler of coworkers"

It's funny to look at the old resume from so long ago -- did I actually write that drivel??? Silly awards that are handed out like condoms in high school health class were worth mentioning on a resume? It's amazing I ever got a job -- except that I guess I wrote this version when I was still at my current employer, which means it never got me a new job. Time to start from scratch I guess.

Question of the day.... is this person the most overrated actress of our generation?