Just a Few More

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Okay, just a few more terms that I’m really tired of hearing:

Pay it Forward: What the hell does this mean?

Save the Date: I don’t know who came up with this little tidbit, but you could effectively eliminate these three words if you just put the date.

Return Back: This is “managerspeak”. How can you return something and take it back at the same time? Wouldn’t that be a double-negative? Essentially, you’re asking somebody to do nothing. Maybe that’s the point.

The War On…

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So, I already bitched and moaned about the terms that need to die. Here’s a subset of terms that are just as, dare I say, psychotic.

I mentioned the &quotWar on Terror”. The only place I ever want to see “war” used is in an actual war; bullets, combat, death, destruction, battles. We’ve had a few of them that were significant over the centuries. Let’s use war for actual wars.

For the love of all that is holy, stop referring to the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on poverty, the war on homelessness, the war on teen pregnancy, the war on want (what the hell is that?), the war on science, the war on spam, the war on indecency, the war on guns, the war on junk, the war on democracy, the war on the middle class, the war on clutter, the war on evolution, the war on linux, the war on the press, the war on photographers, the war on sex (yeah, you’ll get some takers for that one!), the war on fat, the war on toddlerism, the war on ALS, the war on copying, and the war on freedom.

Unless, of course, you’re actually trying to wage a war on thought. 

Terms that Need to Die

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Just a few of the phrases that are either misused, overused, moronic, or otherwise have begun to piss me off:

– ginormous: It’s either gigantic or enormous. Not both. I don’t care if it made it into Merriam Webster’s dictionary. Just stop it.

– prosumer: If you’re a professional, you’re a consumer. However, a consumer is not necessarily a professional. I blame marketing departments for this one.

– tight: The only place I ever want to hear this word again is when referring to nuts, bolts, and the cap on the ketchup bottle.

– hater: Based on the ages of the people alive today who use this term, I doubt any of them can really comprehend what “hate” means.

– hate-speech: When some uptight a-hole pulls this one out, what they’re really saying to people is, “You can have any opinion you want… as long as it’s mine.”

– intelligent-design: Knock it off.

– carbon offsets: It’s not the term itself that gets overused — rather, it’s the concept that’s meaningless. Here’s a tip: the only way to actually reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce your usage; you can’t pay somebody else to use less on your behalf.

– war on terror: just… stop… it. You cannot have a war against an idea. Unless, of course, you’re willing to annihilate that idea and everyone who believes in it, supports it, and condones it. But we all know that’s not going to happen.

Sure, there are more, but these are the only ones that are irritating me at the moment. 

Things You’re Not Supposed to Know

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Sometimes you feel the need to complain about the things you can’t change. Sometimes you need to point out observations—sometimes fact, sometimes misinterpretations—because nobody else wants to see it or admit it. I’m going to do a bit of both.

Fact #1
Poor management means poor results. The troop commander is responsible for the actions of his men. The manager is responsible for his staff. The supervisor is responsible for his team. The parent for his child. Any failure on the part of any minion is the fault of the next person up the chain of command; any triumph of an underling a triumph of the supervisor. Just because you’re the “new guy” and in the entry-level (low-level) position, you are not entitled to anything other than compensation for doing your job as you are instructed to do it.

Fact #2
Immigrants are good. Yes, the USA was built on immigrants. However, we are a nation of laws. We have rules for everything. If you can’t follow those rules, then get the hell out. I know, law enforcement can’t enforce every law. They’re understaffed and due to the actions of their managers (the civilians who make the decisions) they are not permitted to enforce several laws. See Fact #1.

Fact #3
Illegal immigrants are not good. We have a huge illegal immigration problem. This is an invasion of a very large, well-financed army. There are a huge number of people (millions, not just “a few”) who are flooding into this nation. These people have no respect for the laws of their own nation much less of this one. Adding insult to injury, these people are allowed to get away with literally any crimes while the law-abiding citizens are hunted down with every available resource and treated like second-class citizens.

I’ll welcome anyone into my home as long as you knock on my door first and ask for a place to stay. However, if you climb through my windows, you’ll be surprised how quickly my generosity disappears.

Fact #4
Competing languages leads to competing cultures. Look what has happened in Quebec just last year. Ladies and gentlemen, “Separate but Equal” is alive and well in the world.

Fact #5
We have a gang problem. This is directed primarily at the public leaders in and around the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area, but may apply elsewhere as well. Gang members are domestic terrorists. There’s a “War on Terror”* happening right now, but there’s no word on whether they’ll go after any of the various gangs or individual bullies** that infest our cities. There’s a gang problem that must be dealt with.

*Every time I hear the words, “War on Terror”, my brain first translates this to “War on Terra”. A bit amusing, but probably not too far from the truth.

**Bullies in schools are a very real problem in the world. Normally, school administrators will turn the other way because these bullies are frequently the star athletes on their various teams. They’ll tell you that fighting is bad but encourage the jocks to pick on those who are uninterested in fighting.

Fact #6
Your government wants you to be a victim. If you’re a victim, then you are less inclined to challenge the authority or power of those around you. This is not in contradiction to Fact #1. The reason is because the government was intended to be subordinate to The People. Seems that over the years this has changed, the government gained power, the people lost the will to fight.

Fact #7
It is in poor taste pose with your gavel. I certainly congratulate Nancy Pelosi on being the first woman to hold office as Speaker of the House. However, posing for photo-op after photo-op with a psychotic grin while wielding your gavel is not going to win you any sympathy votes. Please, show some respect for the office and a bit of restraint.

Fact #8
You don’t need an 8,000 lb SUV with build-in DVD entertainment center GPS navigation system, and deep tinted windows to take your children to school, go shopping, or visit grandma in the next county; you want one. You want one so you can feel “Large and In Charge” and so you can show the Joneses just how much money you’re paying in insurance and fuel costs. Way to go, genius, you’re helping to promote waste. Good job! Translation: You’re psychotic.

Fact #9
Global warming is changing things faster than you think.

We (yes, all of us) have been ignoring the warnings about global warming. From “there’s no such thing,” to “it’s a natural part of the life of this planet,” to “well, we’re not responsible,” to “even if we were responsible, it would take a hundred lifetimes to see the impacts.”

News Flash: it’s not normal for Denver to get five feet of snow in a month. For the Rocky Mountains, sure, but Denver is a desert. It’s also not normal for New York to see 70 F temperatures in January; normal highs are somewhere around 45 F. It’s not normal for Greenland glaciers to move at 150 feet per day (normal speed is about 5 inches per day).

Maybe I should look into buying some land in Alaska; in just a few years, it should be a balmy 85F in February right around Prudhoe Bay.

We might not be responsible for it; but that also means that we might be. As long as companies like Exxon Mobil are shoveling money into the pockets of “scientists” whose opinions have suddenly changed on the topic, we’ll never know for sure. I, however, am convinced that the collective “We” are absolutely responsible for it. We might not destroy the planet, but we’ll do a pretty good job making it a bit less habitable for humans. Good job geniuses!

Fact #10
Renewable energy is a good idea: including solar heat, photovoltaic, wind, and water.

Just because you can pump hundreds of gallons of gas into your giant SUV (and complain about the mileage, cost of fuel, etc) every month, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Imagine for a moment that somebody gave you a device that would:
Plug into your home
Power all of your computers, needed lights, and appliances
Provide heat
Provide your car with enough energy to travel 100-150 miles per day (think for a moment how many miles you really drive per day, odds are that it’s less than that).

Now, imagine that if you used this, you would never need to write another check to the electric company and you’d never have to put another drop of gas in your car.

Would you be grateful for such a device? Would you find more ways to make use of that device and promote its use for everyone else?

We have the technology right now to do just that. This isn’t a theory, but some people have actually accomplished the seemingly impossible.

But you can’t do it because so many people have accepted the views of big businesses that claim solar heat or power, hydroelectric, and wind power aren’t feasible because they’re:
expensive
noisy (?)
dirty (??)
not good for the environment (?!?)

Right—and paying $400 per month for gasoline is good? How about electric bills of $300 per month? What about natural gas? I know people who are paying nearly $1000 per month for their energy needs! They complain constantly about the cost but do little to simply use less energy.

It’s possible to obtain a second mortgage on your house to pay for a top-end PV and solar heat system and still have several hundred dollars left over each month to put gas in your car until you replace it with something more economical.

Fact #11
Electric cars are good, but GM’s half-hearted attempts at Electric Car solutions have and disregard for the greater good have lost me as a customer.

Many years ago, GM promoted the EV1 electric car. The EV1 made roughly 150 miles per charge, was far from underpowered, could be charged in just a few hours in your own garage, was nearly silent, didn’t use any fossil fuels except in the manufacture and material in its tires, and had virtually no waste.

You want one, don’t you?

You can’t have one now, and it was unlikely that you would have been able to get one back then.

The problem was that you could only lease the car, not buy it, and that you had to be very rich or very powerful to get one. You even had to go through a criminal background check to get on a list to get one!

No chance in hell that Joe Public would ever get his hands on this thing.

GM then claimed that there wasn’t enough interest in the car, so it quietly pulled them from the market and destroyed them. You can’t buy one today—can’t even get parts for one. Thanks, GM!

Now, GM recently reported that they were working on a new electric car. It looks amazing! I’d drive one (really, I would) if it weren’t for the fact that GM reported that it gets somewhere around 40 miles per charge. Wow! 40 miles! Sorry, GM, I need that 150 mile range EV1 as I do about 60 miles per day.

I guess it won’t be long until GM says, “See! We tried it again and there just isn’t enough interest in these. But if you pay $3000 less, we’ll sell you the same thing in a gas car that will get 16MPG.”

Thank you, no.

Fact #12
Hydrogen from oil is bad. Hydrogen from purified water is good.

A few years ago, President Bush stated in one of his State of the Union addresses that Hydrogen was the way of the future. I was glad to hear it.

A few weeks later, some researchers said that it would be more expensive to convert oil to hydrogen so the base efficiency would be about the same as with gasoline.

Why the hell are they even thinking about converting oil to hydrogen? Why not do as we did in our High School science course and simply convert water to hydrogen? Too expensive for the electricity? Okay, use a Photovoltaic panel and create electricity directly from sunlight.

Use sea water. Water won’t work? Distill it first using a solar still.

People, the individual concepts are not difficult to understand. When you view all of the combined actions, inactions, and policies, you will come to a few simple conclusions:

It’s about eliminating all borders (not just national).
It’s about controlling the people.
It’s about oil.
It’s about maintaining power of those with the power.
It’s about the “New World Order”

I want my country back! 

98% Remaining…

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While the concept of a %-complete progress bar while installing computer applications or browsing web sites is, in theory, a good idea, the reality is somewhat different.

There’s a fundamental concept that is missing from the %-complete indicator: the unit of measure.

That is, does the progress bar an indicator of the Volume of data, the number of files to be written, or the duration of time expected for the process to finish.

I’ve had users say, “The progress bar in IE is all the way to the right, but there’s still nothing on the page… your system sucks!” Well, in that case, the progress bar is an indicator of time, not volume. That time value can vary depending on different factors.

How about waiting for an application to install–there’s that effing progress bar, scrolling across the page. Just when you think it’s finished, it jumps back to 0%, hoping you didn’t notice. In this case, it’s actually an indicator of the volume of data read or written to the drive for each file, not for the entire program–which, in some cases, may consist of hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of files. But it doesn’t say that.

I just spent an hour freezing my ass off in a datacenter waiting for one of those stupid progress indicators to go from 98% complete to 100%. The first 98% went by in about four minutes.

Tip: When you write an application that uses a progress bar, get out your stopwatch and time the process on an “average” computer. Do it a few times and record the highest number. Then, write your code to show the user how much time it’s expected to finish the needed process.