Archive for December, 2007

Presolutions - December 28, 2007

Ok, the title may not be in your dictionary, but given Jan 1 is coming up ever so quickly, Here’s the list of things I resolve to have done by then:

  1. Go through all my monthly accounts (cable, phone, …) and make sure the options I want/don’t want are right.. Close any accounts I no longer need.
  2. Solidify Backup strategy for computer data.. After the hard drive loss back in November, I need to ensure that backups are being created automatically. The panic of an impending drive failure, or potential loss of an unexpected failure are too expensive in time and stress levels.
  3. Update resume. Working in a company that has recently laid folks off, and in an industry which lays people off without much more than a mathematical calculation, it’s always good to keep the resume up to date. Besides, I’d rather update it when I don’t need it, than in a crunch when I do.
  4. Cleanup my gmail inbox.  It has about 800 now, and I’d like to have it under 50 (one page worth).  Archive or delete everything over 30 days old to start, and reduce the inbox to items I actually have to deal with.
  5. Get refresh of this website finished and online
  6. Go through and cleanup 2006 and 2007 picture archive

There’s always something I’m forgetting.. Perhaps one of my resolutions will be to take better notes..–> Remembered & added #4.–> Ditto for #5,6 

Fairtax - December 27, 2007

Based on a comment I made to this Times article.

I’m a big fan of the FairTax proposal, my only challenge/question is around conversion.  None of what I’ve read suggested anything other than a cold turkey cut over..   Not being a big fan of such a drastic changes, I couldn’t support that.

As an alternative..  And considering FairTax is so (relatively) simple, it could be added to the existing system easily with a 1% rate to start.  Phase in the prebates as well, while reducing the legacy tax rates concurrently.

2 years at 1%, 2 years at 5%, then increase by 2.5% a year though 20%, and adjust yearly after that..

That’s roughly a 10 year phase in..  Gives all those folks currently working in the various tax related industries a bit of time to find other work.  Also gives the system some time to work itself out while the actual rate is low (1%).  Confidence in the system would also grow as lower income folks actually began to see the prebate checks come (possibly yearly at the 1% rate, quarterly at the 5% rate, and monthly at the 10% and up rates)

heck, the government could even give everyone an ATM/credit card for their respective prebate money.

Dirty South, Serge Devant & Alex Pearce @ Cielo - December 18, 2007

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Flashback: Coffee - December 18, 2007

In the interest of retiring old blogs, while having something for new readers to read while I’m otherwise busy, I’m going to repost those old words here for the new audience to enjoy..  The first one, Coffee, from Dec 5, 2006

I’ve recently been futzing with the concept of this blog (the old one I’m retiring). I setup a little test blog on my mac at home, and tried to make mental notes during the day of things to write about. The test blog has lots of nifty features (it’s based on BT) but would require me to find a hosting provider, setup an account (and pay for said account) along with the configuration all before getting to the writing. So I’ve gone with Blogger for now. They’re free, I already have a gmail account so I don’t need to have yet another password, I can move my posts someday down the road when I’m a world famous writer, and I can have it NOW. Well, I had it two hours ago, and moved that first post from my test blog.

So now we come to the writing portion of our little experiment, and we’re going to need some coffee. By all accounts, I have a different history with coffee than most. You see, up until 9 or so months ago, my lifetime coffee consumption was 1 small Denny’s coffee (with 6 sugars) which I shared with a girl I was seeing back in college. So after rounding to the nearest whole number, (she had more than half), my total is none. And then S came into my life. She was a morning coffee drinker, in fact I was warned not to speak to her prior to her morning coffee, and the one (yes one) time I did resulted in a rainy day. I don’t remember the exact day, but sometime back in Feb of 2006, I started on this magical elixir and my reaction was severe. The first two weeks or so a single cup of home brew had me so high I seriously thought I was being tricked. “How can this be legal?” I asked.

The buzz lasted for a few weeks. I discovered Starbucks (it’s the first google result for coffee after all…), settled down to about 12 oz of office brewed Starbucks house blend served black each work day, and S has moved on to other flavors. At last word she was trying out tea..

Where am I going? ooh yeah, my brain. One of the results of drinking coffee, is that about 12 hrs later, the up turns into a down. BC (life Before Coffee) I’d have a hard time getting to sleep at a reasonable time, and a hard time getting up in the morning, but by all measures my brain worked at a fairly consistent level. AC (this should be obvious by now) things are more of a roller coaster in the brain department. I’m up in the morning, fairly constant in the afternoon, and start to fall off between 7-10pm.

And that leaves me at now.. Roughly 11pm, and I’m tired. The day was productive. Yet by now I’m motioning for my pillow. So starting tomorrow, I’ll have to start jotting down little caffeinated notes to myself.. On paper (or in blogger as unpublished posts), as mental notes just don’t work without mental facilities.

Good night.

Followup:  I’ve since mostly given up coffee.  Or at least broken the habit.  I can now say that I appreciate the taste these days, but don’t need the level of caffeine that comes along with it.  If anything I’ll have a tactical amount to get just enough caffeine on days that require it.  On a Monday after a long crazy weekend, I might have an inch worth.  Quite literally.

Johnny Utah’s Bull Riding Challenge - December 17, 2007

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Second Sun & Cosmic Gate @ Webster Hall - December 14, 2007

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Age - December 13, 2007

How old am I?

That’s a seemingly easy question to answer, but I disagree.. The world at large contends that our birth is the only standard for age. While our birth date is a serious factor in how long we’ve been around, and how much we’ve been afforded the time to accomplish, I’m pretty sure the correlation is much higher with when our parents had sex than how old we really are.

So how do we measure age?

As we go through life, there are aspects we’re good at, while others not so much. School doesn’t give just one grade, we have one per class, surmised from many individual assignments. So lets break this down into a few categories..

Financial age:

“55+”

Granted, I spent a few years out of college working very hard on my career. I don’t have anything to fall back on, so failing here just isn’t an option for me. One could argue that I’ve overdone it a bit, and I won’t disagree. I will say though, that I no longer worry about this. I have what I need, both now and for the future options my life may lead me to.

Bilogicial age:

Your biological age is 26 to 29! If this is lower than your real age, then well done! If not, take up regular exercise, improve your diet and get your cholesterol levels checked.”

I’m fine with that. I could always eat a little better, though my occasional bacon benders are likely a permanent fixture. A bit more exercise would be nice as well.. I have no complaints.

What age do you act?

“You Are 27 Years Old”

Not completely sure I agree with that test, it was too short. eeh..

How old do you look?

I can’t find a web quiz for this one (obviously) but I did perform a bit of a survey the day before my last birthday. The consensus, with very little deviation from the mean, was 23.

When you’re having fun, how old are the people you’re with? (aka, how old is your spirit)

The happiest regular events that I attend are considered EDM (Electronic Dance Music) parties/raves/clubs. I don’t go to XYZ club just to go because it’s Friday or Saturday. I’ll go to a specific club because of the type of music being played and more specifically the DJ that night. I’m also just as likely to go out on a Tuesday as a Friday. But I digress…

While at a club, I tend to end up hanging out with the 18-22 year old raver types. I don’t know what it is about everyone else, but I’m more than happy to stay out and dancing till 6, 7 or 8am, and the folks usually left with me (who aren’t scary!) are typically in that range..

Conclusion

Looks like I’m somewhere between 18-22, 23, 27, 26-29, and 55+. Quite the range, and I didn’t even cover my sex life age! We’ll have to save the bisexual twins bit for another day.

Ooh yeah, my birth certificate says I’m 31..

Layo & Bushwacka @ Cielo - December 11, 2007

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Johnny Utah’s Bull Riding Challenge - December 10, 2007

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Cable boxes blow - December 10, 2007

As of right now, at home we have the following:

  • HD DVR Cable Box
  • Cable modem
  • Wireless Router
  • VoIP box

All tolled, that’s 4 power connections, a cable splitter, 2 RG6 cables, and 2 ethernet cables before anything else is hooked up. Did my cable company provide a cable management solution, or even a power strip? Of course not!

So why don’t cable companies do this… ?

Imagine a “triple-play” box, that took the inbound coax, and was:

* HD Receiver
* HD DVR
* Cable Modem
* VoIP Telephone
* Wireless router

The cable companies would only need one box, and they could remotely, instantly, turn on services the user doesn’t already have when desired. Joe Schmoe cable subscriber could call up Customer Service and ask for Internet to be Installed. Bam! Done. So fast it could give cable companies a positive customer service rep for once.

No splitters, power adapters, ethernet cables and the resulting stronger cable signal would be side benefits.

Sure, the box itself would cost a bit more, but I’d bet that increase wouldn’t be as much in quantity as the labor and other support issues cost having multiple different boxes for each service.

It’s my understanding that the HD DVR box costs something in the $300-400 range. The cable modem is probably $30 these days (the one I bought 5 years ago was $100), and similar for the VoIP router. Wireless router should be $40 in bulk. Add those 3 boxes to the HD DVR box would add 1/3 – 1/4 of it’s total cost, while reducing service calls (to add or remove service) and increasing customer service and customer satisfaction. I realize these might be foreign concepts the typical cable company, but why not give it a try?

Edit:  Additional (specific) features this box should also have:

  • 4+ Ethernet ports, 100 megabit full duplex minimum.  8 ports @ gigabit preferred.
  • The standard features of a NAT firewall
  • VLan for wireless configurable to be separate from wired ports
  • E-SATA port for adding additional storage for DVR purposes
  • Wireless IEEE802.11b/g minimum, with ‘n’ also preferred.
  • HDMI output