Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Thoughts

Ok, it's been awhile. I've been busying learning. Yes, really, learning. And what prey tell? Ok, printing. I decided to move my work indoors this winter. The photo is by a member of a group on Mt. Rainier, taken at Longmire, the lodge just inside the Nisqually entrance in the southwest corner. It's at 2,700 foot elevation (Paradise is at 5,500 foot elevation). And that's the second floor windows if you haven't grasped that yet.

Ok, on to the news.

First, reading the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a good local paper and with the Seattle Times gives you a good cross-section view of the world. The PI is a union-organized, nationally owned paper with a liberal-Democratic view and the Times is a non-union, family owned with a Conservative-Republican view, there were articles in the world summary page from four countries, Brazil, Venezula, Philippines, and Madagascar where events killed 102 people. Such is the nature of the world, many people die every day and we seem to only note a few and the rest all into the fine print.

Think about these people when you hear, see or read stories. They're just like us, people just living and wanting a better life, and now they're gone. And their families, friends and others who knew them are the ones left to adjust life without them.

Second, the British admit the CIA has used US-leased bases to service planes used with their extraordinary rendition program. Gee, and we trusted our governments to be honest with us? We knew this, so why did they deny it all this time? The CIA reported the oversight in reporting this to Congress was a clerical error in the information database for these flights. So where were those planes going to and coming from? Secret prisons in Eastern Europe no one wants to admit exist?

Third, did you know the CIA has been operating covert spy and surveillence bases in Pakistan for remote controlled Predator drones? Apparently an under the table agreement with Musharraf allowed them in the northwest provinces in search of Taliban and Al Qaeda camps. Now with the new government and likelihood of a new President, those bases may have to be closed or we'll have to pay the new government more money. Gee, spying isn't cheap anymore in the face of demcracy.

Fourth, Starbucks fires 600 people, really 220 and 380 unfilled vacancies, in a work staff of 144,000 employees in the US. A sneeze. But what's interesting is the talk of reorganization. The rule in management when faced with problems, reorganization. It doesn't actually do anything or change anything, but only gives the appearance of change and improvment. In many cases it doesn't work beyond reducing employees, in most it does nothing, and only in a very few does it work. So, don't hold your breath Starbucks will be different in 6-12 months, the minimum time it takes for change to be seen.

Fifth, Microsoft promises in a letter made public to cooperate with third-party software developers to provide more details of Vista's operating system and inter-working and operabitlity of the various packages in Windows. Gee, where have we heard this before over the last 10+ plus years of lawsuits against them? They've never complied with the decisions and only have kept promising more details. But they've never delievered.

Seems like a good snow job to me. Think they could use some at Longmire?

There's a story in the NY Times about a kinder chisel and the company's long road to gain acceptance in stores. The chisel has a large cap and wrapper which absorbs a little of the impact while protecting the fingers. It's been well received by users, but not by potential buyers who think the plastic looking cap wouldn't last. It does last a very long time.

There's a story in the Washington Post about the Census Bureau which may not have the new handheld computer data collection field equipment ready for the 2010 census. They plan to buy 500,000 of the units adding $1 Billion to the $12 Billion to the cost of the census. The reason cited is the Bureau doesn't have the necessary IT specialist to make the whole thing work. Like Duh?

President Bush and even some member of Congress have another bright idea, again. We know the Republicans and some Democrats haven't like the Public Broadcast System (PBS) - the TV arm of the publically funded media. While National Public Radio programs and audience has grown, PBS has declined to mainstay programs and some occasional series programs. And while they've tried to kill PBS, they haven't succeeded, until now.

It appears with the advent of cable and Internet media, PBS is approaching becoming meaningless, and this time around some more democrats are joining the call. When was the last time you watched PBS? Is it time for PBS to become self-funded? It's an interesting debate. I only watch it now for the Charlie Rose show and the one hour news show. Almost everything else now is on the cable channels.

Parting jesture, read the February 17th editorial of the NY Times about Iraq. We need real answers from the candidates. I like this column, but will the candidates?

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