Various random thoughts I have had...


Think about the phone on your office desk. Most people don't know what brand phone they have, nor what technology it uses, nor much about it. It doesn't need to get updated every year or two. It Just Works. The user doesn't care how.

A long time goal of mine has been to help get computers to the reliability and stability of phones.

I never really anticipated that the phones would come to meet computers. Alas, with the advent of ever more complex phone systems, and now with IP phones, I fear that is the direction we are going -- phones decreasing in reliability, rather than improving.


Some time back, while walking through the rather wide isles of a very big store, I tried to wiggle my shopping cart around a woman and her cart that had managed to occupy almost the entire isle. I didn't have the courage to tell her my "Ma'am, that shopping cart makes you look fat line, but I did lean over and wisper it to someone else who had work his way around her. He doubled over with laughter. He knew EXACTLY what I was saying...


One of the Great Lies, right up there with "The check is in the mail": "Its about the kids". When said in an school environment, you can be sure it isn't.

"It's about the kids"... except when it we can get something better in the contract.
"It's about the kids"... unless it might impact property values.
"It's about the kids"... unless we can get (re)elected.
"It's about the kids"... unless it involves change.
"It's about the kids"... unless it involves the parents doing something other than shipping their kids off to school.
"It's about the kids"... at least, if they are visible athletes (i.e., boys football).


Slacktivism at its "finest": Supporting Kerry for President because he will "stop the outsourcing of American jobs overseas" and sticking a bumper sticker on your Japanese car.

It would be funny, if it wasn't for what it shows of the intelect of some people.


Political topic you WON'T here about in the 2004 US elections: Intelectual Property Law reform. At the moment, the whole area of IP law seems to be rather broke, among other things, companies are patenting all sorts of things that most sane people never imagined could be patented, and the burden is upon the users to prove a patent is invalid, not the patent holder to prove it was a true innovation.

The system was originally intended to protect the little guy, but doesn't seem to do so.


One thing the war in Iraq has proven: Gun ownership advocates are wrong, having every citizen well armed does not eliminate the risk of horrible dictatorships. However, they will slow down an invading army considerably, so I doubt you will get many "you were WRONG"s out of the gun control advocates.

I suspect you will hear nothing from either side on this one.


I am starting to think that the concept of "Internet on every computer" is fatally flawed. The current SoBig.F virus is spread by people doing something they have all been told never to do: click on attachments. We can't blame Microsoft for this, while this virus can utilize MS software, it isn't dependent upon it. It is only dependent on stupid users.

My inbox now demonstrates that stupid users are not in short supply.

Anyone who got their office computer infected with the SoBig.F virus should be prevented from using e-mail in their office. It isn't like they didn't have warning. It isn't like they didn't see what happened in the past. It is precisely like they don't care.

No technology or virus scanner is going to save us from stupid people.


A Haiku...
Small Japanese cars
With really loud mufflers
Sound very stupid


Years ago, a sick animal was "put to sleep".

Supposedly, this was disturbing to young children, who were also "put to sleep", so now, the expression is, a sick animal is "put down".

Somewhere about the same time, kids started being "put down" for a nap or for the night! I REALLY want to know how that happened...


Once again, US soldiers were injured or killed by Iraqis pretending to be needing the assistance of the soldiers.

Somewhat disturbing thought: The Iraqis have a higher regard for the morals and ethics of our soldiers than many Americans do.

Another disturbing thought: They are right. And they use it against us. I only hope their fellow country people understand what is happening and the significance of it for their future.


We've all heard the claim that "Men don't communicate well", almost invariably said by women (or men wishing to just lose an argument to get it over with).

I think I have figured out what this means:

Women seem to have this strange belief in communications by mind-reading. I can not believe how many times I have heard educated, intelligent women say outright, "He should know what I am thinking".

Amazingly, a large number of conflicts between women are caused by two women each assuming the other can and will "know what they are thinking". They just don't get that it doesn't work that way... (I'm sure this is a man's fault, too, just haven't figured out how yet).

While it is possible that some people get to know each other so well that they can accurately guess the other's reaction to a situation, this should never just be assumed, and it certainly has nothing to do with gender, and in a world as diverse and connected as ours, expecting it to happen is just foolish.


Just put a second video card in one of my computers so I can run dual monitors on it. Both video cards are made by Matrox.

Guess you could say, I've seen the Matrox Reloaded.

(sorry, couldn't resist)


Ok, now that we have defeated the totalitarian Iraqi government and started rebuilding their infrastructure, one critical question remains:

What will the Iraqi cars we buy in 20 years look like?


All politics is "bad".
It isn't politics when you agree.


Over the years, I have had the opportunity to talk to a few Gulf War vets. It is truly amazing...while they tell stories of mass surrender, and dislike of the Iraqi leadership, these soldiers are respectful of not only the Iraqi people, but also of the soldiers who were supposed to be trying to kill them.

MAYBE it is due to the fact that most of our Gulf War Vets didn't encounter a credible enemy, but I really am very impressed and proud of the attitude shown by these soldiers. This is a job to be done, because the job needs to be done. It isn't personal hatred. This is relatively rare in history.

Best of wishes, luck, and success to our soldiers overseas.


So some Europeans and others refer to the US policies on Iraq as "Cowboy Diplomacy". Let's see, now... A stereotypical cowboy does what... well, gee, thanks!


I'm not a big one on New Year's Resolutions, as I feel holding off changes to a particular date on a calendar is silly. This year, I might just make an exception.

I was recently at a friend's house, and we got talking about my exploits of road-side auto repairs. Some were pretty remarkable -- repairing a van late at night in St. Ignace in the winter (hint: it was about 20F, and to get my hands where they needed to be, I had to work without my coat), and stopping to fix an ambulance on the way to a wedding. Those were successful repairs, by the way...and looking back, I'm rather amazed that I had the audacity to attempt those kinds of repairs under those circumstances.

One of my friends asked me, "Would you do that now?" She was referring to the idea of stopping to help strangers on the side of the road, concerned about safety. However, that wasn't the question I heard... What I heard was, "Do you still have the courage to jump in and attempt to do things you have never done before?"

The answer to that question is, unfortunately, "Not recently". I've been playing things too safe...only doing the things that I have done before, things that may wow others, but not impressive to someone who has done it a dozen times before.

I have often said the difference between an adult and a child is the child has no idea what they are not able to do, so they just do it, and the adults, with superior knowledge and experience are left wondering how the child managed to work the VCR.

So, that's my goal for 2003 (and the rest of my life) -- to Just Do It. Quit wondering if I'll succeed. Use the wisdom and knowledge of age to know what SHOULD be avoided...but dive into the rest. To remember the successes, not just the failures.

(Oh, the answer to the question of "Would I stop to help people now" is absolutely yes, and I do. However, the number of people on the side of the road now that don't have a cell phone up to their ear is very small, so the opportunities are not like they were in the past)


Senator Trent Lott has stepped down as Senate Majority Leader. Yay.

I can't say I'm sad to see him go, but those obsessing over his departure are really forgetting a few things. Sure, his remarks at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party were racially insensitive, but people forget that when Thurmond ran for president, he didn't run as a Republican, but as a break-away splinter of the Democratic party, and virtually all that voted for him were devote Democrats, and probably still are.

So, as I see it, Lott's "crimes" were:

In short, he was stupid. The Republicans should be glad to be rid of him, the Democrats should be glad the Media doesn't remember that Thurmond was a Democrat at the time he ran for president...


Funny thing with all the talk about government surveillance in the post September 11, 2001 world:

The people who are the most up-in-arms about it are often the very same people who were most convinced it was happening already.

No, I have no idea what to make of this... I'm not overly pleased with the idea of losing privacy, but I can't forget, we weren't sure that we ever had it...

When I sat down to write this and the above entry, it didn't strike me that they are related, but now, I see, they kinda are, in the sense that things are being recorded that people don't realize are being recorded...


While at a local restaurant, a few of the waitresses forgot that the divider that kept them from seeing the customers didn't prevent the customers from hearing them... One of the waitresses asked her co-workers, "Isn't there a way to tell when someone likely to cheat on you?" Which got me thinking...

In most cases, I suspect the answer is "Yes"...

Oh, and let us not forget, when judging other's truthfulness, don't forget to look at your own...if you think carefully, you will probably hear other people's excuses slipping out of your own mouth.

Don't fool yourself into thinking there are different kind of lies. We often like to tell ourselves that there are "those lies that hurt us", and "those lies that don't". I think the reality is more "Those lies that have hurt us" and "those lies that will"


A friend recently took me to dinner at Hooters. For those not aware, Hooters is a chain of restaurant specializing in scantily clad waitresses, the primary role seems to be to distract the (mostly male) customers from noticing the rather high prices for rather ordinary food and the extra things you didn't recall ordering that were put on your table..and your bill.

Of course, the name comes from what is supposed to be the prominent display of breasts, however it became clear that what one is actually seeing isn't breasts at all, but rather, very ample padding.

Left me wondering how these guys are going ga-ga over chunks of foam. It was a particularly large number the night we were there.


The seven most foul words in the English language have to be, "I do not want to get involved".

They can, however, be said on TV.


The typical woman thinks she is "fat".
The typical man in said woman's life rather likes her appearance.
HOWEVER, give that typical woman a shopping cart, it is amazing how much space she can take up in a store.

I can't tell you how many times I'd like to walk up to a woman and say, "Ma'am, that shopping cart makes you look fat"


Anyone who thinks the world would be a kinder, gentler place if it was run by women has never been to a supermarket on double coupon day. Or to a supermarket at all.


If you really want to understand what the United States is about, hang out with immigrants. These people understand how good it is here, how good we got it. They have worked for their right to be here.

The most patriotic I have ever felt had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001, but rather protesting the actions of my own government, in the streets of Washington, D.C. and more locally. In most countries, the police are there to stop protests. Here, we we can protest across the street from the White House and the police are there to protect us, to stop traffic for us, and to keep us out of trouble, but not to interfere with our right to protest.

This thought isn't helping me get my taxes done, however.


A joke (but not really)...

Woman to friend: "My husband drives me nuts. All he does is sit in front of the TV and watch sporting events and drink beer"
Friend: "Where did you meet him?"
Woman: "At a sports bar, why do you ask?"

I'm really resisting the urge to elaborate on this. If you don't get it, you probably live it. Suffice it to say, I've been the "friend" on this conversation way too many times.....


Last night, I went to a local school board meeting. It was a "special" meeting, at one of the schools, rather than in the usual board meeting room, and the school puts on a show for the board and the public, and many of the teachers were present (most likely after being told "show up").

After one of the teachers make a rather sexist statement about the challenge of keeping the attention of middle school boys (my sources indicate that girls have reached equality in disruptive behavior in the schools), she made a bee-line to the back of the room... and disruptively chatted through the rest of the meeting.

This is the same district where principals and other administrators have often disrupted school board meetings with their cell phones going off. This is also contrary to the behavior they expect out of their students.

Kids, next time your teacher says, "I just don't understand why you are so disruptive", just smile...


I just came back from a local Taco Bell. They have compacting trash cans there. After you toss something in the trash can, it says "Thank You" in a nice, friendly voice. I usually respond, "You're welcome".

I've noted people look at ME funny, as if a talking human is more strange than a talking trash can.