Trying to think of something witty.

Location: Oregon, United States

Here is why I put my long(er) ramblings, well, at least the stuff I pretend the think about BEFORE posting. Here is my primary site.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Back on Father's day, I asked my wife for a book as a gift. The book "Make Love, the Bruce Campbell Way."

The book, Make Love, the Bruce Campbell way

What did my wife hear?

Not Bruce Campbell's Make Love, the Bruce Campbell way

Big differenece. That must have been a really fun conversation at the book store.

As for what would be different in the subject matters, I don't even want to think about that.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bad news ideas

"When morning shows began, the idea was to mimic the breakfast table, with mommy, daddy and some can break the mold now. There are no bad ideas, only poor execution. And if you execute poorly, you get executed."
- CBS's Steve Friedman to Gail Shister, Philadelphia Inquirer

Wow, how stupid can you get.

"There are no bad ideas, only poor execution."

Ummm... sorry, but there are LOTS of bad ideas. Lot of stupid gimmicks that annoy people more than anything else. Why do you think that with the rise of the latest breaking news, and the scare you news, that the number of people watching the news has gone down?

Yes, stations still fight their ratings wars, but each year, those numbers represent fewer and fewer viewers.

People can say that cable is pulling away the viewers, or the Internet, but the problem isn't that viewers are being pulled away, it's that news is pushing them away. The flashing lights and warning bells that accompany the story about how some common item in your house could KILL YOU, will get people's attention, but it will drive away far more people than it will bring in.

"And if you execute poorly, you get executed."

That's a great idea. Some schmuck comes up with a bad idea. Tells people to do the bad idea. Bad idea falls flat on the floor. What happens, the people who were told to do the bad idea gets the ax, not the schmuck with the bad idea in the first place.

Folks, broadcast TV is dying, because the people in charge are killing it and can't, or won't, realize that they are screwing it up.

How to fix it:
First, make news compelling, and I don't mean the stories about everyday stuff that could kill you. You want people to watch your station and read the stories on your website, then give them more than the bloggers can. An average blogger only has so much time and effort to put into their stories, a TV station can devote far more resources to get more information for a story. That means that reporters have to have the time to work on the stories. No 3 stories a day, every day. One story a day, or a couple of stories a week. Give the reporters a chance to work on it.

National news must be about the stories that impact the nation, both local and international. Local news should be about local news. Maybe the local impact of a national story, but local, nonetheless. The stories of a local newscast should not be repackaged national stories, or the national stories run again.

Morning news should be light-hearted and fun. At 6am, people still want the news, but they want banter and fun along with it. No smart-mouth joking during the news, but banter afterwards. Some of the most successful morning newscasts in local markets, has that very banter and wit.

Videoporters, the idea that the reporter should be out shooting video while they are at it, remember when I said that reporters should have more time to devote to stories, this is the opposite of that idea. This is more work with less time to spend on each item. Meaning each item is rushed or incomplete, and people don't get the stories that compel them to watch.

Oh well, I'm not in charge, other, higher-paid, schmucks are.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Blair Witch effect

I was reading over the usage guidelines for a local forest, and found this excerpt from the page:

What To Do If Lost:

Keep calm. Do not walk aimlessly. Trust your map and compass. Shelter and warmth are much more important than food.

It reminded me of the Blair Witch project, not the stupid hand-held crap, or the idea of day hikers trying to go out camping off of the regular trails, but the "trust your map and compass." That part requires that you have a map that is good, and you know what you are doing.

I can't find a image of the map that they were "using" in the film, but it was a horrible hand-drawn map with no real markers and no where near usable. Hell, I don't think the locals could have used that map to find their own asses, must less non-local "city folks" with one who was a day hiker and that was it. From the moment that trio stepped into the wilderness, they were screwed.

At the time the movie came out, I worked with someone who was a cub scout den mother, and she and I were joking about how that movie should be shown to young scouts as an example of how not to go orienteering. For those of you not in the know, orienteering is using a map and compass to find your way.

I can see one of the Blair Witch hunters picking up a guide pamphlet on the way out, getting lost and reading the pamphlet then.

Person 1: "So, what does it say."

Person 2: "Hmmm, let me see, do not drink untreated water... no, that not it... several layers of clothing is usually better than one heavy layer... no, that's not it. OH! What to do if lost! That's it! Hmmm... Uh Oh"

Person 3: "What man? What?"

Person 2: "Ummm, we've got a problem."

Person 3: takes pamphlet away "Let's see, Keep calm."

Person 1: "Yeah, right."

Person 3: "Do not walk aimlessly."

Person 1: "Well, that's two things we're doing wrong already."

Person 3: "Trust you map and compass."

Person 1: "Great! I don't trust that map as far as I could throw it!"

Person 2: "Beautiful. Three strikes. We're so screwed."

So remember kids, good maps are a necessity, even if you are just hiking, but absolutely vital when you are going further than pissing distance from your car.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Buy a Mac

Supposedly, in less than a year, you will be able to buy the many versions of Windows Vista. Now everybody and their mother is getting into the reasons why Vista is going to be the next “big thing” or why it seriously blows.

The requirements for Vista is an 800MHz machine with 512MB of memory, and 15GB of free Hard Drive space. Since this is the minimum, let's say you will need a 1.5GHz machine, with 1GB of memory and 20GB of free Hard Drive space. If you want the cool Aero features, then you will need a video card that has 128MB of memory. So, the machine you have right now can run the Vista in a basic config, but will need a little upgrading to be fully ready, or you can buy a brand-new machine with Vista on it.

Now we get into the more complicated stuff. First, the firewall in Vista is supposed to be disabled, as per this story at ZDNet Australia. So you are going to need to do some setup work to enable the firewall, and then setup your programs to work with it. Then Microsoft has decided to dump the old login and security system for User Account Protection (UAP), but there are problems with it. One site, details some problems, including how many times UAP pops up, just to accomplish basic tasks, also gone over at this article at Computer World.

The ZDNet article also discusses the problems with Media Center to be included in Vista. It seems Microsoft took something that worked, and broke it. Well, the didn't really “break” it, as much as they mucked about in it and screwed up parts of it's interface. The Computer World article also discusses the problems with not enough Windows Sidebar Gadgets, and how they are not compatible with existing Windows Live Gadgets.

Will there be security problems? Well, since they seem to still be using WMF code, since they had to release a Vista patch for it. Mix that with the firewall being disabled by default, we have issues already. Now add in the number o UAP pop ups to do the most basic things, then people with start clicking OK just out of habit. Part of the problem there is that Vista does not use a complete Hardware Abstraction Layer, which means that it doesn't know the difference between you double-clicking an icon with your mouse, and some spyware that says you double-clicked an icon with your mouse. Therefore, Vista can not make distinctions in what to do based on how a program was called. This if from looking at this blog from the Microsoft Developer's Network site.

So, with all of this, what do I think, I think you should buy a Mac.

Now, I am not an Apple fan-boy, but I believe that OS X is really well done.

First, being built on top of NetBSD, a Unix-like Operating System, allows OS X to completely turn off some applications, instead of just firewalling them. Adding in Personal Firewall to control access to non-Apple software, allows your box to be virtually invisible to the outside world.

Next, Apple's security model, called Keychain, is a good implementation of security concerns and access control. Not only does this allow a prompt for administrative tasks, it can keep track of other passwords. This gives you a single place to keep your passwords, that is tied to a Hardware Abstraction Layer, that keeps you from having to re-enter passwords all the time, while still keeping suspicious programs from running automatically, or changing system settings when you run what is supposed to be a simple program.

With iPhoto, IDVD, GarageBand, iWeb, and the rest of iLife, along with Quicktime, you have a good media center, which has been around for a few years now. Then you have Dashboard, which provides all of what Vista's Sidebar Gadgets want to do.

Now, I am not going to say that OS X is immune to Virus programs. Although, since it is based on a Unix-like OS, has well designed security controls, and has a built-in firewall, it is harder for virus programs to infect it. But don't worry, you can get anti-virus software from Symantec (AKA: Norton), Intego, McAfee, and Computer Associates (eTrust). For now, these anti-virus programs mostly scan for Window's virus, so you don't send them on.

So instead of waiting another year, then having to either seriously upgrade your machine, or buy a new one, then choose which of the six versions of Vista you are going to buy, go get a Mac, now.