Under New Management

Friday, June 27, 2008

This blog may be temporarily unavailable as I switch it to blog.slaunchaman.com.  Be patient — it’ll soon be back up and all of your old links (including RSS subscriptions) will still work.

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Waiting For My iPhone

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Maybe it’s the two-hour infomercial in California I attended. Maybe it’s the half-dozen times each night last week where one of us would say, “If I only had an iPhone, I could look up…” Maybe it’s all the cool iPhone applications that are going to come out. Or even the $200 price tag. Whatever it is, I really want an iPhone.  Watching Steve Jobs’ Keynote address (from an overflow room, as I hadn’t spent the night outside Moscone West in order to secure a good seat), I held out hope for him to say, “…and it’s available now!”  Alas.  Not only could I not get one at WWDC, but Apple has deigned not to allow Internet pre-sales.  I can’t even say that I will get an iPhone when the new version comes out, as I have to go to the store to get one, and they might be sold out by the time I get there.

More news also recently cropped up lately, saying that AT&T might not deliver on the $200 price point for people (like me) currently in a regular AT&T contract before the 2-year phone replacement cycle is over.  That’s pretty bad news, and it raises one obvious, but absolutely vital, question: how much is it going to cost me?  Inquiring minds want to know.

If I Were an Engineer

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I was in an elevator today going down from the SEB site and I had an amazing idea.  One of the things that I hate about elevators is not knowing when it’s going to stop between my floor and my destination.  Just today as I got on, a woman went to exit the elevator but realized that it had stopped before her destination to pick me up.  The solution?  Next to the numbers indicating which floor the elevator is on, an up and down arrow-shaped light.  If someone on floor five presses “up,” it lights up the up arrow next to the number five in the elevator car; this way its occupants know the stop is coming.  For multi-car elevator systems, the light would only light up in the car that was going to stop at that floor.  Instant information for the elevator passengers.

A solution in search of a problem?  Perhaps.  But I think it’d be sweet.

Why “Wanted” Is Going to Suck

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Every time I see an ad for the movie Wanted, I get more and more angry.  One of its (horrible) premises is that the kid can somehow instinctually “curve” the bullet.  As in he can fire a gun and have the bullet travel in an arc.  Now, I’m willing to give up some physics in exchange for artistic license, but this is going too far.  In the preview, they show the bullet spinning as it curves.  Bullets spin in order to straighten out their path, in case you were born yesterday.

So why am I so against this movie?  Movies break laws of physics all the time, so why should I be concerned?  The issue is simple: stupid people.  When The Matrix came out, nobody was trying to stop bullets in the middle of the air because they knew they couldn’t.  I don’t have enough faith in humanity to believe that people won’t try “curving” their bullets.  Do I think this represents a serious threat?  No.  But I do think that the movie is dumb enough that the kind of people who go to see it are the kind of people who just might try.

My Favorite Computer Setup

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Favorite Computer Setup

Economic Stimulus

Monday, May 19, 2008

It seems that not everyone is getting their economic stimulus checks in the full $600 the government promised.  While not surprised, I’m a little disappointed at this latest development.  To tell someone they’re going to have that money, to have them plan around it, and then to give them less, well, that’s a pretty crappy thing to do.  Don’t get me wrong, I think that the entire idea of a government that puts its economy down the toilet by overspendig giving each of its citizens $600 is a horrible idea; if that’s the plan, though, then you have to give people what they were promised.  Even if you were going to save the money instead of doing something like spending it a brand new, shiny TV, getting half of that amount (or less) is like a swift kick in the shin.  And honestly, swift kicks in the shin hurt.

Swift kicks in the shin aren’t the only thing that hurts; it seems like everywhere I look there are signs of economic downturn.  A dollar doesn’t buy what it used to, and a trip to the gas station produces grimaces and fear.  People I know aren’t going to restaurants as much, but that doesn’t even help as much as it should with food prices what they are.  I myself am going to start bringing lunch materials to work to avoid going out to eat with my co-workers; it’s great and we have a good time, but I can’t spend $10-$15 per day on lunch if I’m going to be saving up for big purchases, especially if they’re small and shiny.

Where to put the blame of the current state of the economy?  Is it the war?  A quick google for “How much doe the war in Iraq cost?” brings you to this page, which claims that (at the time I wrote this) the war has cost America $520,826,443,126.  Think about that number for a minute.  Think about what would happen if the government spent that much on anything else—education, rehabilitating ghettoes nationwide, ending world hunger and (real) tyranny, etc.  Or think about where the American economy would be if we weren’t spending that money at all.  The last time I remember feeling good about the economy was when Clinton was President (who doesn’t miss Slick Willie?), and during his term Clinton recorded a $559 billion surplus.  A surplus, for Christ’s sake.  Bush II, on the other hand, has increased the national debt by $3.25 trillion since he came into office (both numbers grabbed from the presidents’ Wikipedia articles, but you get the idea).

So how is this going to end?  Is America going to go the way of Rome, spiraling out of control?  Is Barack Obama our savoir?  I, for one, have a tough time seeing John McCain win the election—I beleive there’s going to be too much of an anti-Republican backlash from the Bush II administration—and Hillary Clinton is all but done.  Obviously, the next president is going to have to do one of two things: raise taxes or cut spending.  A tax hike would obviously be unpopular, but let’s look at some countries around the world and their average income tax rates:

Clearly, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if taxes were raised.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind paying a bit more every two weeks if it meant that gas would drop below $4 per gallon again.  Call me crazy, but I think a lot of Americans would be.  Hopefully enough to get someone into office who knows what the hell they’re doing (or at least knows to hire an advisor that does.)

I’m done ranting.  I’m obviously no economist, but I know enough to see the writing on the wall: America is sick and she needs help.

Del.icio.us

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I’ve created a del.icio.us account. It’ll automatically add links to the sidebar. Enjoy.