Category Archives: politics

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Can i get streaming media? Pretty please?

Turns out, with the Motorola Xoom, the answer is no.

Hulu. No.

Lots of devices including the Nexus one. Really? the Nexus One has the hardware but the xoom doesn’t?

Ok not lots. Far from lots. Hundreds of handsets and tablets on the market now, and 6 can run hulu. I retract “lots”

I like my Xoom  a lot, i’ve invested good sizes bits of my $ to buying apps to make the device my go to tablet. I like the size, I like the form factor, I like the OS. But traveling with the Xoom (as I did to WWDC this year) is kind of the pits, unless I make sure to pre-load the device with downloaded content.

Netflix. No.

My understanding is that it’s largely to do with the encryption/DRM capabilities of the device. OK that makes sense.

 

What doesn’t make sense to me, as a prosumer techy with a $600 device on my desk… How did Motorola not build the Xoom with these two apps in mind?

 

Better yet, how was Moto (for that matter, Google too) NOT working with both companies from the get go, to ensure that the Flagship tablet of the Android Army, the first device to ship with Honeycomb, wasn’t at the top of the compatible devices list?

 

It was one thing when neither service had an app for android, it made using the Xoom, not a “This or that” decision with my iPad. But now, now two of the main use cases for my iPad (other than games and Omnifocus) are available for android… just not my android.

Gruber sums it up pretty well in “Fragmentation, I don’t see any fragmentation

It’s funny, there’s plenty I don’t  like about the way apple does things, but for the most part they don’t seem as determined as Google and Motorola do, to drive me away from their platform. :(

Free speech, so long as you don’t say anything

I read this article the other day about a dude getting arrested for a tweet.

My first reaction was, What. The. Fuck.

My second and third, after reading the article, the same.

The most obvious sign of retardedness to me is, in all the terror attacks of late, dating back to 9/11. Have the terrorists been telegraphing their moves? I mean they outfox our CIA, FBI, and groups I don’t know exist. Our TSA doesn’t seem able to stop a determined terrorist, so why on earth do we think terrorists are tweeting their plans?

I mean is someone tweeting, considered a good lead? Is there no place left where someone can make a flippant comment (often out of frustration, or in this case, concerns over weather)?

Is twitter the intelligence and law enforcement communities only source of leads?

Come on folks, really? This is getting out of control. I fully understand it’s a crime to yell fire in a movie theatre, and you’d be daft to walk thru security making jokes about the bomb in your luggage, but now we can’t even tweet without fear the police will come and confiscate our laptops, phones, etc?

Boo on anyone associated with the mentioned incident, and boo on our police and intelligence communities if they can’t filter a real threat from someone making a flip remark on twitter.

I wonder if any terrorists are following me on twitter? If so, please (anonymously is fine) leave a comment and let me know if you routinely announce your plans in a tweet.

The TSA – Killer of Air Travel

So I was reading about the Nigerian dude that tried to blow up that plane… A few things came to mind about the TSA and the current state of air travel. You can see one post on the subject here. Are we safer now than in pre TSA days? Bombers seem to be getting on planes still, and people are constantly talking about “Oh snap, I’ve been carrying this knife thru airports for years, totally forgot”

Wil Wheaton said it best “It’s only a matter of time before the TSA decides that passengers simply will not be permitted to board airplanes. You know, for safety.”

What strikes me the most is that since 9/11 the TSA has put us (You know, the American People, voters, etc) through all sorts of shit. Making us miss our flights, being rude to us in line, destroying personal property, and more all without any recourse on our part. How many complaint boxes have you ever seen? I’ve only ever seen one in New Orleans. Ever tried to complain on site and been told “Talk to the TSA it’s not our fault.” Which TSA? The guy behind the x-ray machine, the three patting people down? There’s no clear “I’m in charge complain to me” person anywhere. I’m sure trying to find said person would result in:

1. you missing your flight.

2. you being permenantly on the shit list

3. (and almost guaranteed) you not getting an answer or speaking to anyone who can give you an answer. :(

The TSA is making air travel a miserable experience, and in the end, not stopping the guy with explosives in his underpants.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Transparency? Nope, not in the TSA, DHS dictionary. Accountability? Nope, not in the book either.

As a fairly frequent air traveler (about 20k miles a year) I don’t feel any safer about air travel now, than I did on 9/10. It seems most terrorist attempts since 9/11 have been thwarted by other travelers.

From http://stat-computing.org/dataexpo/2009/posters/

I’d feel more safe if I knew there was an Air Marshal, on every flight. Since there are so many fewer flights (Remember when missing a flight was ok, because there was another in an hour or so. Sidenote: Data to the right shows fewer delays post 9/11. Think that’s efficiency, or just fewer flights?) than the pre 9/11 days, it shouldn’t be a budget buster to have Air Marshals, if we ditch some of the extraneous costs we’ve added to the pre flight portion of travel.

Of course in light of the recent incidents, the TSA is knee jerking and banning things that (as far as I can tell) have yet to ever actually be used in terrorist attempts. I’ve heard no reports of laptops, iPod, PSPs, etc being in any way used by terrorists. Box cutters, yes. ACME shoe bombs, yes. underwear bombs, sadly yes.

There’s plenty of reading on the subject,

Will TSA rules affect inflight gaming?

TSA Directive begs serious questions (I completely agree with the questions by the way. Especially “How far will the TSA go?” If you say as far as it has to to protect us. News flash it was a passenger who stopped underwear bomb guy, and if I recall, the same for ACME shoe bomb idiot. We’re protecting ourselves better than the TSA is)

Next time you fly prepare to be patted down

For the next 360|Flex in San Jose, I’m planning (unless things change) in looking at Amtrak. It’s (Another blog post) more expensive, by almost 100%, but at this point I’m feeling like as a consumer my only recourse is to punish (stronger term than I’d prefer) the airlines, since I can’t punish or even speak to the TSA. Hopefully more people will follow suit and the airlines will put pressure on the TSA/administration because they’re the ones suffering the TSA’s ridiculous policies (except United who reaps $5 per traveler the TSA screws over)

twitter lists and why I’m not playing

The nonconformist in me hates lists for the simple reason that everyone else is ga ga over them. ditto for google wave.

But for lists there’s a bigger reason, and Chris Brogan hits the nail on the head, They’re exclusionary. They’re the new “hottest kid in school” list posted in the locker bay. Those on it feel more self important, and those not on it, feel like less than people, and in the end, they’re completely meaningless and 100% arbitrary.

There’s few things I hate more than internet popularity contests.

Lists aren’t opt in or opt out, they’re not merit based, or anything like that. They’re lists of people that some one else thinks are worth listing. You must ask to be on the list, you must be “approved”, and if the list maker decides you’re not worthy, that’s that.

Lists are are for clique making. “Hey I’m on 30 lists” as if that somehow indicates importance. I see the number of lists a person is on, being the new “follower count”, a metric few care about, and most deride as a sign of being some sort of twitter spammer, or twitter whore.

Will it become the same bad juju if you’re on 50 lists, and have made none?

Of all the things twitter could of released, it’s sad they chose lists. They’ve already got their “most influential user” list or whatever. I’d rather see twitter add more useful features than popularity contests. To name a few. Polls, photo/video/audio (sorry third parties), maybe a suggestion system like Netflix? “You should look at these guys, because they’re similar to this guy that you follow.” That’d be WAY more valuable than “Here’s my bestest friends, who are cooler than you, but you should follow” list, by someone whom I’m not sure I care about their opinion on such things.

Sorry list makers, and list whores. I won’t be making lists, nor will I care if I’m on yours. There’s more important things out there.

Our Country’s new CTO, un qualified for the job

Saw this on Techcrunch and had to voice my disgust.

While I think a great many Silicon Valley CEOs are douchebag tards too busy telling each other how great they are, I think a great many (and many non CA CEOs) are highly intelligent, savvy guys (and gals). All very much people I’d be happy to see serve their country as our CTO.

Instead, President Obama has selected Aneesh Paul Chopra.

So who is Aneesh Paul Chopra? Good question, one I’m sure echoed around the country a lot when it was announced. Lots of “Who?”

Chopra currently serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, and has previous acted as the Managing Director for the Advisory Board Company, where he advised executives on health care operations.

So he’s experienced in our frakked up healthcare system, great.

According to Virginia’s state website, Chopra was recently recognized by Government Technology Magazine’s for excellent ‘use of technology to improve government’, and he was awarded Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2007 State Leadership Advocacy Award.

So a group government bureaucrats think he’s a great guy, and has ‘improved government’ through technology. Let’s see, healthcare is still expensive and inefficient, hospitals are slow and disorganized, electronic records are non existent. Wonder what he’s been up to? Wonder what makes him even remotely qualified to be our CTO?

I’m sad that President Obama, has chosen a bureaucrat as our CTO. He had an awesome chance to really take us forward technologically.

According to this article published in the Washington Post in 2005, Chopra was not a career technologist before he became Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, but he has extensive experience in policy making.

Great, a clearly non-innovative, non technological person.

When I worked out Ameriquest, one of the worst parts, was the CIO. Like Chopra she wasn’t a coder or technologist. Rather she saw the ‘benefit’ in management over actual experience or expertise. Chopra’s “primary understanding is from customer need, not bits and bytes”. Which == crap. I know because our CIO spouted the same crap when asked what her experience.

The CIO was terrible, her skill was kissing ass, and managing up, coming up with grand schemes that wasted time, wasted effort, wasted money, and in the end got her ousted by a ‘better’ (and equally as technologically inept) ass kisser.

Sadly I doubt President Obama will fire Chopra and replace him, so our first CTO, for the next 4 or 8 years, is a bureaucrat, with little to no TECHNOLOGY experience. I’m not sure what the ‘T’ in Obama’s CTO is, but guessing it’s not Technology.

I know Obama is a politician, but so far he’s two for two as far as I’m concerned, working to squash the illegal wire tapping program Bush started, and now this clear political ass grab.

Big 3, no bailout for you!

I’ve little sympathy for the big 3, less for the unions. The failure of the bail out seems to reinforce my grim outlook for both bodies. I know it will suck for the economy, and suck for most of us in some way or another, but really, they made their beds. Did the government step in for Home Grocer? Or any other start ups that flopped? Did they step in when Apple stock was 8 bucks and less a share?

Sure we let the auto makers get as big as they are, big mistake, hopefully we learn from it, but protecting and bailing out bad business practice, not a wise decision.

If my reading of the news is correct, the UAW wasn’t willing to make concessions as part of the bailout package. I mean, why do their part to help their employers? Why should the union bosses let their people take pay cuts, which lowers dues, which lowers union boss pay? Why can’t the American people just give more? Why should the screw turners take a pay cut, or lose the cushy retirement they’ve earned that few other employees anywhere, even get?

Don’t get me wrong, the UAW isn’t the only one at fault, apparently someone (I talk more about this below) thought the bailout package should include a pay raise for federal judges, cuz you know, they need a raise, and this was a best way to get it.

From the Forbes article:

McCaskill said judges’ pay raise, inserted by Reid, “sends the wrong message to the United States of America at this scary moment.”

Well duh. Yeah it sends the wrong message, it sends a message that in troubling economic times, our politicians are still interested in injecting whack crap like this into emergency bail outs. What do judges have to do with it? Nothing as far as I can tell, certainly it’s not the place, let alone time for that kind of junk!

Labor, lawmakers and the auto industry bargained in unprecedented private talks at the Capitol Thursday night…

I think it’s funny that these talks take place in private. After all it’s my money, shouldn’t I know what deals are being brokered? Shouldn’t those doing the dealing be held accountable? Wouldn’t the process go smoother if all parties knew we were watching that they had best act in good faith, lest we see how scummy they are? Is it just me that thinks that?

The House-passed bill would create a Bush-appointed overseer to dole out the money. At the same time, carmakers would be compelled to return the aid if the “car czar” decided the carmakers hadn’t done enough to restructure by spring.

Really? do we need more Czars? an IP czar, a car czar. Yeah that’s a solution. Appoint a fall guy, that way we have some one to draw and quarter when things go south!

Pushing to convert skeptics in both parties, Democrats agreed to drop at least one unrelated provision that threatened to sink the measure, a congressional official said. They were eliminating a pay raise for federal judges after Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who represents an automobile manufacturing state, announced she would oppose the carmaker aid unless that provision was removed.

Good for Sen. McCaskill! I’m ashamed it was my own party that put such a turd on this package. I may be opposed to the bail out, but really? Adding crap like this is just embarrassing.

The auto industry and their union cronies had no problem during the big years, maybe we see how they handle the lean ones. As far as I’m concerned, if I (as a taxpayer) bail out the big 3, I want ownership. I want shares, I want them to answer to me (us, the people giving them money for being lame businessmen, and greedy union mongers) in exchange for my money!

Fat chance, I know, but a guy can dream

How would I change education?

What happens when you have a bunch of United Air miles that are about to expire, but aren’t enough to use for anything? They offer you magazine subscriptions, lots of them. One of mine was Time. The latest issue, had an article that really struck a nerve with me, it was on education, specifically the Chancellor of the Washington D.C. school district.

As a product of public education, I’m 100% opposed to private schools and vouchers. I’m more opposed to our current school system, which I think needs to be completely scrapped. Not just a little, but scrapped and started over, get rid of the teachers, the principles, the assistant principles, and even some of the guidence counselors (though that’s just cuz I think they’re lame).

One of my biggest beef’s with my pals the democrats, their allegiance to teacher’s unions. They’re as bad the auto makers unions, and unfortunately for us, they’re mess ups, are children, not just crappy cars.

Teaching is one of those jobs, where all you have to do is make it 10 years, or 15 years, and you’re set. You can suck as much as you like after you’re earned tenure. Man I wish I had that deal, so my job well enough to not get fired for a while, then coast until retirement. SURE not every teacher is that way, a great many are heroes in the truest sense, and have my undying respect, but easily as many, are terrible. I’m not being over dramatic, I’ve suffered through them, their not really caring about the students, or the curriculum, simply fullfilling the lesson plan requirements, whether we learned something or not.

What should we do? Make teachers live in the same world we do. If I start sucking at my job, EUI will fire me. If I’ve worked there for 10 years, they’ll still let me go if I start to do a poor job. Why should a teacher be any different? Why should we give them that break that gives them the freedom to stink it up?

My idea? It’s easy, make teaching pay what it’s worth in the market like any other job, and make it no more guaranteed than any other. Teachers should be paid what they’re worth, and fired when they stink, it’s really that simple. We shouldn’t promote poor teachers to principle, and poor principles to super-intendant. Sure every industry has it’s share of “promoted to highest level of incompetence” but teaching seems to have institutionalized the concept, and codified it into their very fiber.

This quote is awesome,

She says things most superintendents would not. “The thing that kills me about education is that it’s so touchy-feely,” she tells me one afternoon in her office. Then she raises her chin and does what I come to recognize as her standard imitation of people she doesn’t respect. Sometimes she uses this voice to imitate teachers; other times, politicians or parents. Never students. “People say, ‘Well, you know, test scores don’t take into account creativity and the love of learning,'” she says with a drippy, grating voice, lowering her eyelids halfway. Then she snaps back to herself. “I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t give a crap.’ Don’t get me wrong. Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”

Damn straight!

The data back up Rhee’s obsession with teaching. If two average 8-year-olds are assigned to different teachers, one who is strong and one who is weak, the children’s lives can diverge in just a few years, according to research pioneered by Eric Hanushek at Stanford. The child with the effective teacher, the kind who ranks among the top 15% of all teachers, will be scoring well above grade level on standardized tests by the time she is 11. The other child will be a year and a half below grade level–and by then it will take a teacher who works with the child after school and on weekends to undo the compounded damage. In other words, the child will probably never catch up.

I can’t agree more. I came from what I consider a pretty bad district, my high school opened with not enough teachers, and an empty library. I sat on the floor for more than a month in my 70ish kid english class. Several of my classes the first year, we had to share text books. The Gym, never had showers, etc. etc. I had a history teacher, and while I thought he was nice and a cool guy, he never spoke to the class. He assigned chapters, and tests. I went to that class about once every two weeks and passed with an A, and don’t recall a damn thing! I was in an AP class that so horribly prepared me for the AP exam, that I failed miserably. What Senior AP Lit class spends the class reading a loud? Mine did.

Teachers are brave souls, and I think we treat them mostly like dirt, but I think too many of them are doing our (actually ‘your’ since Nicole and I aren’t breeders) a terrible disservice, and we as a society have empowered them to do so. We bitch and moan about the state of education, yet parents don’t get involved, we throw money at “no student left behind” which really means, “pass the dummies so they’re some one elses problem”, rather than holding students AND teachers accountable. Every job has metrics, every single one. Yet somehow teachers don’t? Test scores aren’t good metrics, blah blah blah. There MUST be a metric, and we owe it to students, and teachers a like to find it, and make it standard, and hold all parties to it. That’s it, it’s not rocket surgery, it’s not impossible.