Goodbye old friend

This is it, my final post.

A wonderful boquet of flowers.I've been using this weblog, and Blogger, for the past nine years, but some recent changes to Blogger got me thinking, maybe it's time for me to make a change.

New site, new weblog, new publishing system.

If you follow this weblog in an RSS reader it's time to point it at my new home. That new home is being published using WordPress, and I'm loving it.

So, point your browser to if you're looking for my new home. This site will remain unchanged, an archive of my weblogging life.

Web Home -
Weblog -
Twitter - @fahrni

See you on the internets.

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Posted by Rob at 6:23 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Boo Orange County

Los Angeles Times: "Some Southern California cities fine residents for watering their lawns too much during droughts.

But in Orange, officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for removing their lawn in an attempt to save water."
- The city should be encouraging more folks to do what the Ha's have done. Drought tolerant plants, no lawn, and wood chip's are all great ways to beautify your yard and conserve water. If you've never lived in an area prone to drought you may not understand, and that's ok, but here it's nice to see folks doing their part to save water for more important things, like drinking.

Boo on you Orange County.

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Posted by Rob at 7:44 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Indiana Jones meets Computer Scientist

Hello, Dr. "Digital Antiquity, a national initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks a Technology Director/Lead Software Engineer to lead the technical development of a "start-up" national digital repository for archaeological documents and data. This exciting cyberinfrastructure initiative provides an excellent career opportunity in informatics and software development in the stimulating environment of a major research university." - What a cool opportunity. If I had all the lovely requirements they're looking for I'd apply today. I'd love to be the Indiana Jones of the Computing World.

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Posted by Rob at 1:18 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Tweets and copyrights

Jeffrey Zeldman: "As messages sent via Twitter cannot be longer than 140 characters, they cannot be copyrighted. However original, witty, or profound they may be, nothing more than good manners protects your original expression of authorship. If you wish to let other people quote or use your Tweets, you need not "license" them; indeed, technically, you cannot license them, since they are in the public domain the instant you publish them." - The more you know.

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Hey, money talks

Tumbledore: "I've run for almost a year now. I had several posts up and I followed 28 people with the account. All my posts are now gone and my address has been changed to Where my blog once stood now stands the official Tumblr for Pitchfork Media Inc. Watch out, Soup, I hear Campbell's is gunning for you next." - Here's another reason I like having my own domain. I'm sure the Tumblr license agreement spells this out somewhere. I do feel sorry for this guy/gal, but know what you're getting into.

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Posted by Rob at 8:09 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

A sad day for Fresnans

Fresno Bee: "More than 600 lots containing items such as office furniture, science exhibits and lighting fixtures were sold in a sometimes dramatic auction held beneath a large tent on the former museum's grounds. The museum's art collection will be sold later."


Posted by Rob at 7:35 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Looking back on CrunchPad

Back in November, 2009, Michael Arrington announced the death of the CrunchPad
"It's a sad day at TechCrunch HQ. Hitting the publish button on this post, which makes all of this a very hard thing to do. I'm enraged, embarrassed, and just...sad. The CrunchPad is now in the DeadPool."
I can't help but believe it was a good thing it failed. Yes, a good thing. Just think what would've happened to it after the iPad announcement? Sales would've dried up and he'd have been selling them out of his garage at a heavily discounted price just to get rid of them.

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Posted by Rob at 7:41 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Understand the meaning...

Daily Reveille > Opinion : "One speaker at a town hall meeting last July voiced their frustration with the government's meddling in, well, government-created programs. 'Keep your government hands off my Medicare,' the man demanded."

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Posted by Rob at 10:25 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Mmmmmm baked goods

Haileigh Fahrni: "Frozen mousse and sheet cakes were the first few days, quickly followed by sauces, caramel, and plating designs. As we began week two, we started to learn about custards, sugar pulling, how to make out plates balanced and beautiful. By the end of week three, we were plating beautiful desserts, and making some pretty involved cakes." - Go check out this post just for the pictures. Maybe our little girl should specialize in baking?

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Posted by Rob at 8:30 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Scoble, the fanboi

Robert Scoble: "Ahh, it seems so long ago when my son and I waited in line to fork over more than $600 each to buy an iPhone. The image above is from the front page of the San Jose Mercury News (I was cheering to many thousands of people who were waiting to get into the store to buy their iPhones and who had waited for up to 38 hours to do so - my son and I were first in line, which was a lot of fun)." - Robert's right. Stuff like this is fun. Standing in line with your fellow geeks, talking shop, staying up all night, and scoring that new geek toy early. Yeah, I could do that, and I know a couple of guys that would probably stand in line with me.

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Posted by Rob at 7:25 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

So begins the switch

I've had this weblog and used as its home for almost nine years now, but change is afoot. After finding out Blogger is going to kill off FTP upload I've been thinking about how to approach the change, and now I have a plan.

This weblog will go into mothballs, in a sense. The domain will, at some point, stop being the place I publish my weblog. I've also owned the domain for a long time and never really knew what to do with it. will become my new home on the web.

Since I'm making the change the next question is this, do I stay with Blogger? Tumblr is an awesome weblogging system that allows publishing to custom domains. The exact thing Blogger is going to do in March. Do I stay with Blogger, move to the more modern Tumblr, or switch to the awesomeness that is WordPress. Like most seasoned developers I'm always tempted by the idea of creating my own system, but that usually wears off after a few minutes.

Blogger is a great service and I've been very happy with it these past nine years, yowza it's hard to believe it's been almost nine years. It is, however, getting a bit long in the tooth. The changes are necessary to move the platform forward, which I'm all for. My hope is Blogger will go far beyond what it is today and hopefully catch up with, or surpass, Tumblr. I'm looking for better integration with my social networks. I've been using FriendFeed as that connector, but it would be awesome if Blogger could do all that for me. When I post to my weblog it should shorten the URL, using the service I choose at the time I publish and publish an update to my social networks with the post title and the shortened URL at a minimum. If Blogger doesn't plan on doing this I will definitely move off the platform for one that gives me these options. Tumblr provides this very functionality minus the choice of URL shorteners, they shorten with their own service,

Something else that needs time and attention is the design and user experience. Something clean and functional yet powerful. I'm a bit biased, but I think you should talk to the fine folks at Hundred10 Design. They're an award winning design shop. The other thing that needs work is your default template collection, they're ok, but not great. They need to be great and you need to embrace the design community and provide user designed templates as an option to the community.

Rick Klau (@rklau), the Blogger Program Manager, has offered to answer questions about the change, and I'm very grateful for that, so we can do more here, or on my original post.

Oh, here's a question I do need answered. Can I use a custom template for publishing if it's hosted on Google servers? That's important to me.

All that said the nine years of this weblog will be maintained, as it is today, but my web presence will move entirely to, including a new weblog.

Here's to the future.

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Posted by Rob at 1:30 PM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Dave on the death of a website

Scripting News: "I'm a very technical person, and I've been aware of this issue starting from the first day I wrote an essay that was published on the web. I've been doing things to protect my writing. Yet, if I were to for whatever reason, stop tending my web presence, the whole thing would disappear within 30 to 60 days. One or two billing cycles before the hosting services cut off service. And then no more than a year before the domains expire and become porn sites or whatever.

This is a terrible situation.

And a business opportunity."

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Posted by Rob at 9:36 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Facebook, you naughty doggie!

TechCrunch: "This looks really, really bad. An avid Facebook user named Harman Bajwa says that his Facebook vanity Url - - was unceremoniously revoked yesterday for violating Facebook's policies. His new Facebook URL is the much less memorable" - Well, money talks, and bull$%!* walks.

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Posted by Rob at 9:29 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

I'm with COCO

"Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it's always been that way."


Posted by Rob at 12:58 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Websites, after death

A wonderful boquet of flowers.Rogers Cadenhead: "I was told that it's none of my business why her family doesn't want her work republished, which is absolutely true, and that her legacy 'is not dependent on websites or books; her legacy is with every person who knew her and loved her.' This is only partially true. Leslie was an early pioneer in the creation of autobiographical content and experimental web design. She left behind thousands of web pages, many of which are as memorable as Possible Scenarios for Heaven from 2003." - I've often thought about what will happen to my websites when I'm gone. I guess it's something else I'll have to specify in my will.

Hopefully my children, or grandchildren, will be interested enough in one of the Fahrni domains to keep them running.


Posted by Rob at 9:48 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Yes, I love NetFlix Instant Queue

James Robertson: "We just picked up an XBox this fall, and I signed up for Netflix not long after that - for a flat monthly fee, I can stream a whole bunch of content whenever I feel like it. Apple just bought a streaming outfit (LaLa), so it seem slike they know where things are headed, too." - I know James is posting about something else, but he hits the nail on the head when it comes to the XBox Live/NetFlix deal. Kim and I have become addicted to this lovely service. We've just finished season one of Dexter and are off to season two. After one of our Dexter marathons I scrolled through the movies and television shows available to us via instant queuing and was shocked to find a great many options.

Bravo NetFlix, bravo Microsoft. Pairing XBox Live with NetFlix was a win for both companies, and fulfills this movie fanatics dream of video on demand, and I think we've only scratched the surface. Things are only going to get better.

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Posted by Rob at 9:46 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

NBA, Land of Punks and Thugs

ESPN: "NEW YORK -- Washington Wizards teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton drew guns on each other during a Christmas Eve locker room argument over a gambling debt, according to The New York Post." - Hey, if you need a gun to settle a dispute, or defend yourself, you're not much of a man. What every happened to that time when two men would stand toe to toe and slug it out?

Why in the world do these punks continue to get hired, and paid, to play a game? Clearly they're not men, and not deserving.

Boot them out of the NBA, let them get a job at 7-11, or McDonald's and let's see how much they like that. Better yet, put them in jail for a while, cool their jets a bit. Maybe, just maybe, they'll grow up a bit.

Looks like that worked for Michael Vick.

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Posted by Rob at 1:45 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Thanks Ms Rowling

Harry Potter, boy wizardEconomist: "In fact the Harry Potter books were the iceberg. As each book appeared it drew new readers to the series and expanded sales of earlier books in a snowball effect. Thanks largely to the boy wizard, Bloomsbury's turnover, which had gradually increased from 11m in 1995 to 14m in 1997, took off. In 1999 it stood at 21m. Two years later it was 61m. By the middle of this decade, with Bloomsbury's revenues above 100m, rival publishers were griping that there was no point bidding against the firm for a children's title." - It really is a Cinderella story.

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Dave gets his due

Scripting News: "Slate's culture podcast chose three people as Person of the Decade and they were: George W. Bush, Paris Hilton and Dave Winer. " - Congratulations Dave, and thanks for the technologies, namely RSS and Podcasting.


Posted by Rob at 8:12 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

The Biggest Losers

CNN Money: "For years more people have fled the Golden State than have arrived. In the year ended July 1, California was the country's biggest loser, with nearly 100,000 more residents leaving than moving in." - We've pretty much lived in California all our lives, and now this state is beginning to lose a bit of its' luster. People are bailing, and who can blame them? Our State Government is is disarray and can't manage to get the job done.

So, where in the great United States of American can a software guy go? Washington State, parts of Texas, parts of Colorado, where else?

We still love it here, but at some point you begin to question why you stay.

Please, share you opinion, where would you consider moving, and why?


Posted by Rob at 11:44 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." - Luke 2:9-12

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Posted by Rob at 7:22 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Fresno, it's not all bad

archop: "The new owner is the Penstar Group, a Fresno based developer. The soft spoken but confident Penstar Group CEO, Tom Richards said that they had investigated buying the building before but the timing was not right. He also stated that them buying the building now is a vote of confidence from the private sector in the actions and policies that the City of Fresno is putting in place regarding downtown revitalization." - I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it, Fresno needs to continue work on downtown. They need to attract some of the young up-and-comers to downtown by offering incentives to get them down there. But, don't stop there, it would be nice to see established companies move downtown. I'd love to see Pelco downtown, I know it's not likely to happen, but a guy can dream can't he? Downtown need to become a place people like to go, not a place they want to avoid at all costs. It needs department stores and companies that offer professional services. It needs a facelift, and it's starting to happen, but it'll take time. Hopefully moves like the newly opened Iron Bird Lofts and the Penstar Group's acquisition of the Bank of Italy building will start a new trend, the revitalization of Downtown Fresno.


Posted by Rob at 11:20 PM | 3 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Make the change

James Collier: "As much as it pains me to dig up these old memories, they started to come unearthed after reading through lists of local responses to the recent USA Today article about Fresno's attempts at rebranding. It was far from a positive view of our city, and that has upset a few people." - Nice post James.


Posted by Rob at 10:57 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Sometimes... It's the small things

Steve Blank: "But the damage had been done. The most talented and senior engineers looked up from their desks and noticed the company was no longer the one they loved. It had changed. And not in a way they were happy with." - Software Engineer's can be a fickle bunch, and yes, sometimes, it's the little things that'll push people out the door. Something as simple as taking away the free soda. Man, could you imagine the potential uproar over something like health insurance changing?

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Life at Google

Don Dodge: "The Google campus is beautiful, funky, and efficient. There are bicycles everywhere for people to use to get between buildings. In some ways it feels like a college campus, but the intensity level is much higher. Most people sit in open cubes with four or more people in a pod. Offices with doors typically have 2 or 3 people in them. People work in groups and there is a real sense of teamwork everywhere you look." - Very different from Microsoft, in so many ways. Some folks thrive in Google environment, some in the Microsoft environment, and there are cases where people cannot make the transition from home to another. It looks like Don is thriving.

And I couldn't agree more with this statement...
I think in the near future there will be docking stations everywhere with a screen and a keyboard.
Don is referring to your phone becoming your primary computer. Think about that for a couple of minutes. When I saw the iPhone for the first time that thought came to mind.

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Posted by Rob at 11:16 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

The debate rages on...

John Gruber: "If it's the iPhone's fault, not AT&T's, why aren't iPhone users around the world having the same problems as those here in the U.S.? How come iPhone carriers in Europe and Canada turned on tethering support as soon as iPhone OS 3.0 was released, and AT&T still, seven months later, has not?" - Good point.

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Posted by Rob at 8:32 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

New York, a Tech Haven?

Scripting News: "First, New York has become much more interesting in the tech world. I spent just two days hopping from rock to rock, and didn't land on most of them, but wow, there's something going on there" - I have a friend spending a LOT of time in New York, and finds he loves it. He says there's a lot going on there.

Will we see a Move East trend?

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Posted by Rob at 8:21 AM | 4 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

The case of American Airlines and Mr. X

Dustin Curtis: "When I first learned about this, I was horrified. Mr. X is actually a good UX designer, and his email had me thinking there was hope for American Airlines. The guy clearly cared about his work and about the user experience at the company as a whole. But AA fired Mr. X because he cared. They fired him because he cared enough to reach out to a dissatisfied customer and help clear the company's name in the best way he could." - Ah, yes, the man can be that way. It really stinks when you care and try to push for change when the company doesn't support you. I learned that the hard way.

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Posted by Rob at 9:38 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

My Own Universe

Like many I use Twitter and Facebook, and I have my weblog, which I consider the center point of the Rob Fahrni Network.

Dave Winer has been working to de-centralize micro blogging, that's not a bad thing, it's a very good thing. I like the idea of being in charge of my very own nightmare. I need a center point, a launch pad, that works with all these services, including my weblog, and pushes updates to Twitter, Facebook, my weblog, and the other services that are a part of the Rob Fahrni Network.


Open for Business.Well, I see my weblog as a personal history of my adventures in life. Apparently it's next to impossible to get your full Twitter history, Dave has done so by constantly backing it up. I'd like to do so moving forward. To do that I'll need a tool I can use for weblogging as well as one for microblogging that will push to Twitter and Facebook, as well as keeping a copy of everything for myself.


That is the question. I have server space and I'd like for it to live there. I have a desktop tool I love, MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software, but it's just a way to push data to the server. So, are there existing web services I could use to tie it all together? There's which offers a gateway to many different services, including Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, and Flickr, just to name a few. There's FriendFeed which will aggregate posts from your weblog, or Twitter, or Facebook, and publish to other services.

I'd like to find a CMS, or weblogging tool like WordPress, that I can use as the center of the Rob Fahrni Network. Here's what I'm after.

1) It must install on my server.
2) It needs a UI to publish directly to social networks, ala
3) It needs a weblogging UI, that in turn pushes the title and shortened link to social networks.
4) It needs to publish to my weblog and publish to a microblog, ala Twitter, that's lives in my network.
5) It must have API's. One for blogging, one for microblogging, so I can point my favorite desktop at it. Basically MarsEdit would become my frontend to tweeting.
5) Everything points back to a center point, my weblog.

Instead of going to Twitter, or Facebook, or Blogger, I go to my network, where everything begins life, and it pushes to other services. For your average person this is Facebook, I want more, I want to control it. It is, after all, my content.

Hopefully I'll be able to do this with a combination of WordPress and If not, maybe someone has already explored this and has a nice solution.

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Posted by Rob at 12:35 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Another reason to like static HTML

Scripting News: "Choose software that's easy to archive. Ideally you should just have to make a copy of a folder to back it up. Most bloggiong software is nowhere near that simple. " - This is yet another reason I LOVE my statically published weblog pages. I've moved my weblog to a few different hosts over the years and I can do exactly what Dave does; I tar up a directory, copy it to the new host, untar, and I have my weblog up and operating. Easy. It's also darned easy to backup, using the same method.

All this talk boils out of a post on Blogspotting, a BusinessWeek blog, that is going bye-bye. The writer would like to back up his work, I'm not even sure if he has the right to do that, but it puts the light on backup/archival yet again.

I'm one step away from moving to a WordPress based weblog, and this comes along to make me think twice, again!

How easy is it for one to migrate a WordPress based weblog to a new host? As easy as 1-2-3, or does it involve moving a database? Hopefully that process has been completely automated. It looks like quite a process, doesn't it?

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Posted by Rob at 11:20 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Thomas L. Cable, Jr. - Loser

ESPN: "In 1989, Sandy Cable sought a temporary order of protection, which said, in part, 'On two occasions, one back in '86 and the other in '88, he hit me. The second time in the face, however on attempts to call law enforcement, my husband would rip the phone out of the wall.'" - What a man! It takes a real man to knock around a lady. Gee Tom, what do you do for an encore, knock down little kids and steal their candy?


Hey, get in touch ( when you'd like to go a couple rounds. I live in Exeter, California, and I'm in the phone book.

I'm game.

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Posted by Rob at 9:07 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

I love my wife

Kim Fahrni: "Now, you have to know my hubby. The fact that he was out in the yard working, paired with the excitement in his voice worries me." - Um, yeah I was excited. I haven't seen a frog in a LONG time. It reminded me of being a kid out in the Brick Yard here in Exeter. I put him in the side yard garden, he should be very happy over there.

Hopefully the kitties don't get him.


Posted by Rob at 6:10 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Dear Palm Letter

Jamie Zawinski: "Believe it or not, this actually has nothing to do with my utterly nightmarish experience of trying to get my applications into Palm's app catalog, and everything to do with the fact that the phone is just a constant pain to use." - Later in his post he bottom lines it, "Because it's an appliance that just f@#$%* works."

'Nuff said.

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Posted by Rob at 5:42 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

What a difference...

John Gruber: "Where was she two years ago? Selling iPods to Oprah and Bono as a manager at Apple's Michigan Avenue store in Chicago." - It's gotta be strange to go from selling iPods to rocks stars to giving away Zune's? I'm just sayin.

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Posted by Rob at 5:26 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Rainy Day

When it rains, it pours.Kim Fahrni: "One of my favorite smells is new rain on the ground. Right now, I should be getting ready to go to yoga, but I just want to cuddle up on the couch, light a fall scented candle, and cover up with a soft blanket. Lol.. luckly, guilt will win out and I will go. Hopefully the storm will last through the night so I can listen to the rain as I fall asleep."

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Posted by Rob at 5:56 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Hey, Al, fire the bum!

Commitment to MediocrityFanhouse: "The other coaches pulled Cable from Hanson, but an enraged Cable broke their grasp and attacked Hanson a second time, allegedly screaming, 'I'm going to kill you!' over and over as he kept a hand around Hanson's throat. " - Al Davis is unquestionably the worst owner in the NFL, leaps and bounds above #2 Jerry Jones. He may have known football at one time, but that time has passed. Now he has coaches threatening to 'kill' other coaches.

It's no wonder Al Davis had to hire Cable, nobody in their right mind would want to work for the man.

Hey there, big Al, do the NFL a favor and fire Tom Cable and yourself! The Raiders are a complete joke.

Raiders - Commitment to Mediocrity!

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Posted by Rob at 8:31 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Visalia Technology Companies - The Definitive List

Downtown VisaliaOk, inspired by Robert Schultz recent post, Fresno Technology Companies: The Definitive List, I've decided to do the same for the Visalia area.

The companies DO NOT have to be pure software companies. They can be companies that develop software internally. There's some cool stuff out there that never "ships!" Ask me about my time at The Nut Farm(Paramount Farms.)

So, if you will, please post a comment with the following information.

Name of the Company
What skills they utilize? E.G. C++, C#, ASP.NET, Python, Java, etc.
Are they hiring?

It would be nice to see the Fresno, technology black hole disappear.

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Posted by Rob at 7:50 AM | 5 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Great Tweets on Celebs

Daniel Jalkut: "Twitter is democratizing my opinion of whether celebrities are idiots or not. Answer: usually, yes." - And, yes, Twitter has hitched their wagon to them, and it's working. Watch TV these days and you'll notice a lot of garbage programming. People seem to eat this crap up.

Daniel Jalkut: "So @Alyssa_Milano balks at Tweetie's $3 upgrade price. So I assume if I ever watched her in a movie theatre, she'd send me the DVD for free." - So much unrest over an upgrade price. Come on people it's $3.00, but you know how I feel about the App Store, it should be called the $0.99 App Store.

Daniel Jalkut: "You can tell which Hollywood stars have decrepit agents. A decent agent would tell a moron star not to act like themself on Twitter."

Daniel Jalkut: "Roman Polanski. Shouldn't there be some consequence for raping a girl and evading the law for 30 years? Celebrities defend, more dumbness." - Celebs, gotta love 'em. They tend to think they're above the law. Mr. Polanski, it's time to face the music.

Yeah, yeah, I know there all from the same person. He was on a roll, and they were too good to pass up.

One piece of advice I gave my children long ago; Don't marry an Actor, a Professional Athlete, or a Rock Star. They're all flakes.

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Posted by Rob at 6:59 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Freelance Development Pitfall

Run faster little hamster!Rob Walling: "My first reaction is that becoming a freelance developer (or starting your own consulting firm) can also be a lot less conducive to launching a product. Instead of being able to justify a somewhat fixed salaried workday, you find yourself working longer and longer hours as client demands increase. In addition, freelance development requires a lot more mental energy than being a salaried employee. Mental energy that can't be spent launching your product." - Just over a year ago I was ready to jump into the freelance world. My plan was to use freelance work to support my Mac development habit. Alas, after talking to a number of people, I heard the same thing over and over and over. One, I wasn't going to charge enough to make it work, two, you're ALWAYS on a treadmill. Either you're working long hours to satisfy client requests or you're out trying to hustle business. Now, I know some folks that are doing quite well. They keep their heads down and have a reputation for delivering, but they do work TONS of hours and it seems like it never ends. That's a huge challenge to overcome.

The best job in software is still the job that allows you to develop a product and "ship" it. It doesn't have to be on a shiny CD/DVD, it just needs to be "packaged" and available for purchase. If your product is decent it affords you the time to actually plan for the next version, put your head down, and deliver it. I like that model.

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Posted by Rob at 8:46 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Just a little obsessive are we?

Time: "Although extreme cases of Internet and video-game addiction have not been widely publicized in the U.S., it's a different story in Europe and in East Asia, where game-playing has even been linked to player death." - Wow. It's hard to believe we now have game addiction centers. Yes people, XBox, and the internet can combine to create a beast. Get a life, go outside, talk to real humans, not just their digital representations. Crazy stuff.

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Posted by Rob at 8:04 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Revisiting 09/11, Scripting News

I followed a link via Dave Winer's FriendFeed this afternoon to an piece on Gigaom titled "Remembering 9/11 - A Time Before Social Networks."

I left a comment of course because I was a part of a social network at the time, called weblogging. The only thing Twitter has brought us is a much quicker flow, along with more noise to sort through. Still useful, yes, just noisy.

On that day I found it next to impossible to get through to CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times websites. They were just overwhelmed. I turned to Dave Winer's Scripting News for up to the minute information. Dave, if you read this, you did a great job that day.

This brings me to the title of this post. Go read Dave's account of the day, and click on the links. It's surprising how fragile our lovely World Wide Web is. A lot of the links just don't work. Sad to lose that history, don't you think?

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Posted by Rob at 3:28 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Yes, I've seen this too

Paul Krugman [NY Times]: "The point is that whatever is driving all this doesn't have anything to do with the realities of what I, or, much more important of course, Obama say or do. Obama could have come in proposing to pursue an agenda identical to Bush, and he would still be a socialist/Commie/fascist, with those of us who don't see it that way lying Nazis ourselves." - People are angry. I don't understand why, but they are. I keep hearing terms like Communist, and Nazi. Very strange, where did it originate? It is of course a certain group of people spreading this hatred, you know who you are. I'm a moderate; a socially conservative, liberal minded, Democrat. Yeah, strange mix, right? I don't mind our government helping people, but I don't agree with everything that's been done by President Obama and the administration. That's OK, it's the American way, I guess I don't get the pure hatred and the attacking nature of the debate. Hey, if we were a communist nation, run my Nazi's, do you think the mess we're seeing at town hall meetings WOULD BE ALLOWED? Course not, thank our founding fathers, be thankful for your freedom to express your opinion, be thankful you can rant and rave, this is very American.

Relax, take a deep breath, think about what's happening that really drives you to the brink of violence, and be honest with people about what that is. With some it'll be the bottom line; hey I didn't like the bailout of GMC and Chrysler, or the mortgage mess, and I also don't agree with the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on our current wars, but I digress. Some people, and again, you know who you are, don't like having a black president. It's plain old racism, trust me, I've seen that first hand in our little town.

UPDATE: To be clear, thanks James, I don't think everybody disagreeing with President Obama is a racist. I'm sorry if it came across that way. It's far from the truth, or factual, I'm referring to personal experience toward the end of the post. We, as a people, just don't agree on everything. I'm OK with that, I just wish we could do it in a civil manner, that's all.

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Posted by Rob at 10:54 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Twitter, Not So Good

Creating Passionate Users [Kathy Sierra]: "Worst of all, this onslaught is keeping us from doing the one thing that makes most of us the happiest... being in flow. Flow requires a depth of thinking and a focus of attention that all that context-switching prevents. Flow requires a challenging use of our knowledge and skills, and that's quite different from mindless tasks we can multitask (eating and watching tv, etc.) Flow means we need a certain amount of time to load our knowledge and skills into our brain RAM. And the more big or small interruptions we have, the less likely we are to ever get there." - Wowzer. This is kind of scary, and probably very true. Also note, this is an OLD post, from March 2007! Twitter's use has grown dramatically since then and is stealing minds 140-characters at a time, DOH!

A.D.D? What? Me? Oh, look, a new Tweet just came in.


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Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, a winner!

Seattle Beer Blog: "In this inaugural year of the Challenge, Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, California, was judged the winning IPA out of 19 entries." - Mmmmm, good beer, yes indeed. I still love me some RedHook ESB, but Union Jack has become my favorite beer.

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Solar in The Valley? Why Not!

The Business Journal: "According to a Cleantech statement, CalRENEW-1 represents a successful collaboration between Cleantech, PG&E and the City of Mendota to create green jobs, improve air quality and demonstrate the viability of large-scale PV solar to help California meet its renewable energy goals." - We're a prime spot for solar. Just out side Exeter there's a facility with a large solar array that powers most of its manufacturing floor with power they collect.

I still believe it would be a good idea to make solar a requirement of all new housing in California, at least here in The Valley. It's a rare day when you can't see the sun here. Why do you think the plants like living here so much? Smile, life is good!


Posted by Rob at 7:31 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

On healthcare

Bill Lazar: "Let's not forget about the moral component of the issue. Most of the opposition to the public option seems to be coming from conservative Republicans and these people overwhelmingly self-identify as deeply religious. All of their Bibles (and Torahs and Korans) speak of the need to show compassion, to care for a brother in need." - Yeah, I think of that particular case myself, a lot. The reply would be "Well, if I get to keep more of my money I can give it to folks that need it." Fair enough. The question is do you do that? If so, good for you! If not, what are you waiting for?

I agree with Bill on a lot of his points, and I also agree the current bill is no panacea. Like him I have no idea how to fix it, but it would be nice to have an option for people without insurance.

This is a tough problem to solve, it takes serious people to solve it. If folks could just put the emotions away, think, share their opinions without fear mongering, things would be a whole lot better. The Republican tack has been to scare people, why is that? It seems like a holdover from the Bush Presidency, with Mr. Paranoid himself, Dick Cheney. Next thing you know they'll have you believing it was the terrorists that started the bill.

Let the bill stand, or fall, on its own. As responsible citizens we need to share our opinions with our representatives. Its their job to represent us. Call your Congressmen, tell them you either do, or don't, want a health care option. Ultimately that's about all we can do, right?

Let the flames begin!


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Harrison on Burress

Sports Illustrated: "Harrison said that he can't understand why Plaxico Burress would risk everything in a club. He said that if a player is scared, they should either hire bodyguards or just stay home. Bringing a gun to a club is not acceptable." - Bravo. Young athletes, just stay home. You have everything at your fingertips. You can go out, sure, but I'd say stay away from the clubs. You can have fun without them.

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Posted by Rob at 6:57 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Can I get an Amen!

Om Malik [via @davewiner]: "Chris Saad, who works for, a start-up that makes social media tools and has been involved in various technical groups such as, today outlines seven reasons why the blog-builders and users need to rise-up. 'It's time we start re-investing in our own, open social platforms... Blogs are our profile pages - social nodes - on the open, distributed social web,' he writes. Well said, Saad! For his seven reasons," - I've been writing this weblog since 2001, it is my own personal profile. It's me, it's how I feel, what I'm doing, who I'm doing it with. It's family and friends. It's work and play. It's a view into my life, it's my very own personal nightmare. It is me.

I love having this blog and always have. As long as I'm still around this weblog will serve as my very own, one man, social network. It cannot, and will not, be replaced by Facebook or Twitter, they don't, and won't every let me run things the way I want to run them.

This is my place on the web, and they can't touch it.

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Truth about Pharmacy

Pill Bottle.Jerry Fahrni: "And the best news I've heard all day, 90 percent of the students surveyed felt that information from pharmaceutical sales reps was not credible. It appears that there is hope for the medical profession after all. - By the way, this sounds like a good survey to administer to pharmacy students. Who would like to help me design the questionnaire?" - It's very interesting having a brother that's a Pharmacist. They're every bit as important to health care as a Doctor, but they don't get the respect of a Doctor, heck, they don't get the respect a nurse gets, which is a real shame considering they know what they know. Look, if you're bleeding internally you want a great doctor to take care of the problem, so why is it people seek advice on medicine from their doctor instead of their pharmacist? The pharmacist is the one that knows drugs and drug interactions, not the doctor. The doctor knows what some pharmaceutical rep has told them, do you honestly believe they read the literature like a pharmacist does? I don't think so.

Pharmacists save lives, seek their advice about your medications.

That is all.


Posted by Rob at 8:57 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Fresno Area Geeks Unite!

Robert Schultz: "I've been thinking about some ideas to help promote local developers and programmers here in Fresno and getting to know others. One idea I really liked and experienced once was Startup Drinks San Francisco, which was really fun. I was new to the city and I got to meet with lots of developers for some great startups based in the city. So why not here in Fresno?" - This sort of event is definitely needed. Since writing my Fresno, technology black hole post I've discovered a LOT of new Fresno based talent, especially in the web and design areas.

Now, all we need to do, is springboard that into a Visalia Geeks Dinner and Drinks!

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Diet, not exercise, is the key. "As I write this, tomorrow is Tuesday, which is a cardio day. I'll spend five minutes warming up on the VersaClimber, a towering machine that requires you to move your arms and legs simultaneously. Then I'll do 30 minutes on a stair mill. On Wednesday a personal trainer will work me like a farm animal for an hour, sometimes to the point that I am dizzy - an abuse for which I pay as much as I spend on groceries in a week. Thursday is "body wedge" class, which involves another exercise contraption, this one a large foam wedge from which I will push myself up in various hateful ways for an hour. Friday will bring a 5.5-mile run, the extra half-mile my grueling expiation of any gastronomical indulgences during the week." - Basically the article eludes to the fact that exercise burns calories, and makes you hungry. So, if you're not watching what you eat it can be counter productive. Proper diet and exercise are a great combination. If you're going to Chipotle daily and trying to shed pounds, you're probably not going to make much headway. If you limit those visits and have a reasonable diet 90% of the time, you're probably going to make progress.

As I've gotten older, I'm nearing 42, it's become more difficult to shed pounds. Back in my mid-30's I could stop drinking sugary soda and drop five to ten pounds quickly, not anymore. I'm now on a reduced calorie diet, 2000 calories per day, until I can shed 30-lbs. My goal is to be a trim 240, possibly back to 230 depending on what I see when I reach 240, not so easy to achieve. Watching calorie intake is difficult, it's a constant struggle, one in which I've had failures. Last night I couldn't take it anymore and I had two cheese enchiladas, rice, and beans from our favorite mexican joint. That's OK, I failed for 1/3 of my day. Today I'll pickup where I left off and continue the fight.

The plus side is, I love the gym. My daily training has changed in two ways. I have to up my cardio to 60 minutes a day, up from 20, and I'm doing yoga with my lovely wife twice a week. The cardio thing is what's killing me. It's a huge time commitment. Instead of and hour-and-a-half in the gym I'm now committing two hours to the gym, three on days I do yoga. Another change, I only did cardio on lift days, four days a week. Now I'm supposed to do cardio seven days a week. Something I haven't been able to achieve in the two weeks I've been on this new program. The encouraging thing is I've lost weight, about one pound per week, which is healthy and steady. I'm aiming for one to two pounds a week, which can lead to eight pounds a month, at which rate I should reach my 240 goal sometime in November, toward the end. Even if it takes into the beginning of the year, I'm ok with that. Healthy weight loss is the goal, you can't lose it too quickly or you'll put it right back on.

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Posted by Rob at 9:14 AM | 3 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

A sign of the times? "LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Forty prison inmates were sent to hospitals, four of them airlifted, after a riot erupted at the California Institution for Men in Chino, a spokesman said" - I wonder if this is related to California State budget cuts?

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Posted by Rob at 8:53 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

No new releases for Redbox

Company Town [LA Times]: "Many studios are wary of Redbox, whose business has doubled in the last year, because its kiosks rent out DVDs for just $1 per night. That undercuts stores with higher rental prices, Netflix and disc sales. All three carry significantly higher margins than studios can get even through a revenue-sharing agreement with Redbox." - Wow. In some ways Hollywood, more like the entertainment industry, can't deal with the ever changing world. Since Redbox rents movies for $1 a night they can't have new releases now. Wow.

First we have VHS, the studio's go crazy; pirates, we're all going to go bankrupt, blah, blah, blah. They survive.

Then we have places that rent movies. Hollywood is concerned. They survive.

The big brick and mortar stores, like Blockbuster, give way to Netflix. Things seem to be ok still?

Enter iTunes movie rentals. Concern again. Apple can't rent new releases right away.

Yet another twist on movie rentals, kiosks via Redbox. I'd bet Hollywood thought they'd fail miserably, so they did a deal with them think "Oh, these fly-by-night, small peanuts, companies will just go away." Wrong again fellas. They seem to be doing just fine, and are quite popular. Every time I walk into our local grocery store, Save Mart, I see someone standing at the Redbox kiosk renting a movie. I LOVE the idea, I think it's quite brilliant, and for $1 a night, how can you go wrong?

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Posted by Rob at 8:16 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Fresno, technology black hole

@philderksen - "RT @FresnoBiz: Business Journal Survey: The State of Technology in the Valley. Let us know what you think."

That tweet led me to The Business Journal, and a 1000 character survey, which wasn't near enough to explain how I feel about Fresno as a technology center. Phil has one view, I have another.

Look, you really have to want to live in the Fresno area to live here. That may sound like a big "DUH!", but it's true. Those of us that choose to live here will typically give one of a couple answers, here's what I've heard most often; "I could afford to buy a home here." and "I have family here." The second reason is a large part of why we're back in The Valley after living in the Seattle area for five years. Family is hard to argue with, but being near your family comes at a huge price if you're a professional software developer. As for the first reason, well that's not so true any longer. The housing boom forced home prices into the stratosphere, ridiculously high for the region. The Valley is one of the poorest places in California, and I'd imagine the country. It's a weird place to be. We're used to being poor here. The economic downturn has hurt the region but it's not like other regions of the country.

Watch out! It's Fresno, the tech black hole!On to reasons Fresno is a technology black hole, in my humble opinion.

Reason #1: The Valley is poor as dirt

Our economy is based on agriculture. The Valley feeds the world, that's not an overblown statement. A large portion of the worlds fruits and vegetables come from The Valley. We have a large unskilled workforce. A workforce that tends to be very poor. We've become a service industry based region; McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, you get the picture.

Reason #2: Fresno is a cultural wasteland

I once read somewhere, and I wish I could remember where, a site exclaiming "People in Fresno think culture is something the doctor takes." There you have it. What do we have to offer vast fields orange groves, which are amazing to behold, but not likely to draw you to them week in and week out. We have the Chaffee Zoo and the Fresno Metropolitan Museum but they struggle, see Reason #1.

Reason #3: Limited sporting events

We have Fresno State, The Fresno Grizzlies, and The Central Valley Coyotes. Fresno State fans will claim they're great fans. Rabid more like. Think Oakland Raiders. Rowdy-obnoxious-drunken-brawlers. Who wants to deal with that? I certainly don't. I'm not sure how well the Grizzlies are doing. They have a fantastic brand new stadium. I've been there and it is indeed a great place to watch baseball, but I've only been once.

Reason #4: Downtown Fresno is dead

The great technology centers I've visited personally have vibrant downtowns. Seattle is a great example. When I worked for Visio I could step outside and experience wonderful activities on a daily basis; restaurants, shopping, music, art. Seattle had it all, and it was all within walking distance, even after we moved to One World Trade center, which was removed from the core of downtown. Downtown San Francisco is the same, with San Jose being slightly less so, but it still offers workers an abundance of amenities. Fresno's downtown has shown a bit of a renaissance in certain areas, which is encouraging, but it has a long way to go to live up to the technology hotbeds of America.

Reason #5: We have ZERO high tech companies in the region

That is probably the real clincher. Our one great company in the region, Pelco, cannot employ thousands of tech workers. It just can't do it. So where do they go? They flee to the high tech centers; Seattle, The Silicon Valley, Boston. Pelco is trying to turn the corner and become a great high tech company. It'll take some time, but it's getting there. We have the leadership in place and are making moves to achieve that goal, we're working on seriously cool stuff, but once again, one company can't employ the region. Pelco has been a real leader in its' chosen field, but that hasn't drawn companies into the region.

We've had two interesting startups in the region over the past year, both have fled for greener pastures.

Plastic Jungle moved to Mountain View, and Vine Global relocated operations to Arizona. Vine apparently moved because of a big deal with a client and needed to be there for them. I'm not sure why Plastic Jungle left? I'd heard it was at the request of their VC's. If that's true it doesn't bode well for anyone trying raise funding from the Fresno area.

Robert Schultz: "If you weren't aware I wrote another post regarding another startup based on the Fresno area called PlasticJungle. They were recently funded from a Venture Capital firm in which following the round of funding, decided to move most of their operations out of Clovis to the bay area. While I disagree with these moves since I want to see new and innovative businesses grow here in the valley, I understand that the business here is not as optimal as places like the bay area."

Reason #6: It's really hot here!

We just came off a streak of 100+ days. At its peak the temperature was 111, that's just insane, and a lot of folks are really turned off by the heat. Just like living in freezing weather for months on end is a turn off to a lot of people. We lack a certain balance in our weather. It's always warm here, even in the winter. In the past year I'm fairly certain I've worn shorts just about every day.

Reason #7: The air quality is horrible

We have horrible air quality, see for yourself. In the list of 23 places the San Joaquin Valley owns six positons, with three in the top ten! Folks that are sensitive to dust, pollen, and molds are at risk here. Both of our children developed asthma after moving here. Not so good.

But wait, it gets worse

Phil asserts that local tech companies don't allow him to get involved, which is the desire of developers. I haven't experienced this myself, but I understand what he's saying. I've run into a lot of "mom and pop" shops that have a very local thinking mindset, which I think hurts them. We live in a poor region. People just don't like to spend money on custom solutions. I know of a developer that was told he couldn't charge for his implementation on top of an open source solution, what? Because he was going to use a free product he shouldn't charge for his time? Ridiculous. Custom development shops, and consulting, are fine, but they're not the way to build great technology centers. The overhead is too great and you're constantly trying to hustle business from people that don't want to pay up. The real win comes in the form of product. Not the kind you package and put on a shelf. The kind you create, publish in some form, and charge for it. Desktop or web, it doesn't matter. Things like Netflix or Amazon. Why not out of The Valley? Is it lack of networking, brain drain, a combination of the two? Most likely a combination of the two, well that and we live in a poor area. Not many wealthy local entrepreneurs out there.

The bottom line.

Q: Who will change the Fresno technology black hole?
A: Those of us born and raised in The Valley will have to do it.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Posted by Rob at 10:11 AM | 16 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

A.P. thinks we're Pirates

ARRRR! I be a pirate!NY Times: "Tom Curley, The A.P.'s president and chief executive, said the company's position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs." - This could turn into a defining moment in the decline of newspapers. If the A.P. goes after bloggers, and search engines, and we have a progressive paper, like the NY Times, step it up and become more open... well, let's see which model turns a better profit.


Posted by Rob at 1:58 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

BMI == bad

NPR: "But you may want to take those findings - and your next meal - with a grain of salt, because they're based on a calculation called the body mass index, or BMI." - Ahh, it's about time someone gave us a good set of reasons to hate the BMI. It's bogus! Problem is too may people use it today to determine if you're obese, or better yet morbidly obese.

Here are some BMI fatty's for you, just so you get the "real" picture.

Brian Urlacher - BMI of 31.4. Obese. 6'4 258lbs.
Ronnie Coleman - BMI of 44.6. Obese, super fatty! 5'11 320lbs.
Mariusz Pudzianowski - BMI of 41.2. Obese, another super fatty! 6'1 312lbs.

I think you get the picture.

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Former NFL QB McNair Murdered "NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair's shooting death was a homicide, police said Sunday, but authorities stopped short of saying it was a murder-suicide committed by the 20-year-old girlfriend found dead by his side." - Crazy.

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Happy Independence Day!

Signing the Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Believe it or not I think about our founding fathers a lot. Without them this country may still be a part of the British Empire. They were traitors to the crown, and thank God for that! On July 4th, 1776, we declared our independence from the empire, but the revolution really started in 1775 and took until 1783 to wrap up, eight HARD years to become and independent nation. Don't forget that.


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Quay Valley A.K.A. Redneck Heaven

Wikipedia: "Quay Valley, also referred to as Quay Valley Ranch, is a proposed planned community consisting of about 12,000 acres (18.75 square miles) in unincorporated Kings County, California, located approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and about two miles (3 km) east of Kettleman City. It is planned to be a new, sustainable, solar-powered, model town of about 150,000 people in which residents will not have to pay an electric bill." - The opening paragraph caught my eye, but it really looks like it's going to be redneck[1] heaven. The first two bullet points are all about cars and what looks to be a NASCAR style track. Man, that would go over huge here in the valley. But those same folks typically don't care about being green in their daily lives, so it's an interesting mix. I figure they put in the green initiatives to get government interest, and more importantly, government funding.

I've always thought it would be interesting to be a part of something like this, planning a new city, and the community around it. When we were back in Virginia a couple of years ago we stayed in Reston with family. Reston is not very old, only 45-years.

From with Wikipedia page:
Reston was conceived as a planned community by Robert E. Simon. Founded on April 20, 1964 (Simon's 50th birthday) and named for his initials, it was the first modern, post-war planned community in America, sparking a revival of the new town concept.
The planners of Quay Valley should definitely take a look at Reston for inspiration, it's a beautiful city.

1 - I'm descended from rednecks, aka okies and arkies, so it takes one to know one.

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Posted by Rob at 10:27 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Exeter Office Space

Based on a Tweet from Christopher Hawkins I decided to go do an office space recon mission for him at lunch. I took some pictures of what I think are the best places to rent office space, that I know of, in our little town. [Read more...]


Posted by Rob at 10:55 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Did Jobs get liver because he's wealthy? "The truth is more complicated. No one can actually buy an organ in the United States (legally, that is). But getting a liver transplant, it turns out, is a lot like getting into college. Once you're on the waiting list, your chances of getting off it depend largely on your personal circumstances -- how sick you are and whether you are a good donor match. But getting on the list in the first place -- or on more than one list, as the case may be -- requires resources and know-how that most people don't have." - Of course I asked that question when I saw the report. My mother has been on a transplant list for years. She was near death four years ago and still no liver. Now she's doing a lot better but the docs are beginning to hint that she may be bad enough to get one in a years time at her current rate of decline. So, you literally have to be near death to receive the organ, and there are all kinds of crazy rules in the fine print. My mom was unable to get one four years back because she weighed too much, thanks to the meds the doctor put her on to keep her alive. So, it's really hard to get one. Jobs must have been very near death to receive a liver when he did.

So I honestly believe the answer to "Did he get it because he's rich?" is no. He got it because he was about to drop dead.

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Posted by Rob at 2:01 PM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Pen and Paper vs. Digital

Jerry Fahrni: "As I got up from my work to get another cup of coffee I felt a little amused at the image in front of me. My days are spent working with various types of pharmacy technology, computers, automated storage devices, barcoding equipment, etc., but there on the table in front of me was a paper notepad and an ink pen." - I love this post, I really, really do. There are just some things that are hard to replace digitally. I worked on an application, for 10-years mind, intended to replace pen and paper for diagramming, but the diagrams always started life on a white board or on paper. It's just easier. Once they needed to become "real" they'd move into digital form, using Visio of course.

I have a super nice iPhone application I've been meaning to evaluate. It's called Instaviz and it could be just what the doctor ordered for banging out "on the spot" diagrams, maybe a replacement for pen and paper?

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Posted by Rob at 11:59 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Iran, the revolution begins?

NY Times: "TEHRAN - Police officers used sticks and tear gas to force back thousands of demonstrators gathering in the capital on Saturday, a day after Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said there would be 'bloodshed' if street protests continued over the disputed presidential election."

CNN: "The regime's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, laid out his special interpretation of political Islam in a series of lectures in 1970. In this interpretation of Shia Islam, Islamic jurists had divinely ordained powers to rule as guardians of the society, supreme arbiters not only on matters of morality but politics as well. When Khomeini established the Islamic Republic of Iran, this idea was at its heart. Last week, that ideology suffered a fatal wound."


Posted by Rob at 11:24 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Steve Jobs meet new liver

The Wall Street Journal: "Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave from Apple Inc. since January to treat an undisclosed medical condition, received a liver transplant in Tennessee about two months ago. The chief executive has been recovering well and is expected to return to work on schedule later this month, though he may work part-time initially." - Here's to a speedy, and complete, recovery! It's a bummer the man had to go all the way to Tennessee to receive his transplant. UCSF, right in his own backyard, has a fantastic liver team.

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Not that it was wrong

CNN: "Sherri Goforth, an administrative assistant to state Sen. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, has admitted she sent the e-mail May 28 with the title 'Historical Keepsake Photo.' She said, without elaborating, that she mistakenly sent it 'to the wrong list of people.'" - Notice she's not sorry she sent it, she's sorry she sent it to the wrong distribution list.

Class act.

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Small and progressive

Money: "Employee happiness is paramount: Every year workers receive $1,500 each to spend on any kind of professional enrichment that strikes their fancy. They're also entitled to a four-week sabbatical after every seven years of service." - Ahhh the joys of being part of a small, fast moving, progressive software company. Those were the days, and I definitely miss them.

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Posted by Rob at 11:12 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Is it really June?

I cannot believe it's June, our youngest daughter graduates on Friday, June 5. Of course she and her older sister will be boomeranging for a few years to come, then Kim and I will be empty nesters.

I'm getting old..


Posted by Rob at 11:52 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Wow, what if?

Panic - Extras: "So that's what that never-happened early meeting was going to be about. Since we never met up because we were tangled with AOL, Apple turned to their next choice, SoundJam, and the rest was, well, history. Another one of those amazing "life junctions" you'll always wonder about - what if we had made iTunes? Would we be happy? Would we be having as much fun? Would we be, er, rich?" - Wow, what a great story. Cabel is a great writer and this story of Apple crushing another little guy is fantastic. Fortunately that's just the beginning of the story for Panic.

If you need some great Mac software Panic is holding a two day sale, May 27-May 29. Coda, Transmit, and the Apple Design Award winner, Unison, are all half-price.

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Posted by Rob at 9:01 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

The Great News Experiment

Guardian: "Rupert Murdoch expects to start charging for access to News Corporation's newspaper websites within a year as he strives to fix a 'malfunctioning' business model." - Wow, let's see if it works.


Posted by Rob at 11:50 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Pot meet kettle

The Last Days: "According to the survey, 54 percent of Americans who attend church at least once per week said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is 'often' or 'sometimes' justified, while only 42 percent of Americans who 'seldom or never' attend church services agreed with that viewpoint."

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Posted by Rob at 1:13 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

1993 Blockbuster Summer

Cinematical: "1993 holds a really special place in my heart for one reason: Jurassic Park. While I had seen some event movies in my 11 short years, there had never been a movie like this. It was the first movie I had to wait in line for -- and the line seemed huge because it actually went outside the Southwest Plaza Mall." - That year sticks out in my mind as well, it was a pretty good year. I remember it because Kim and the girls were in California visiting family, I was off at a trade show, I believe it was N+I, in Atlanta, Georgia, for Visio. After the show I flew to California instead of going back to Seattle. We spent a couple of weeks visiting with family, and Mickey Mouse, then back to Seattle where Kim took me to see Jurassic Park for father's day.

Funny the things I remember.

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That's it, we're moving to Fargo!

Yahoo! News: "The areas with the most short-term particle pollution or soot were Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pa.; and the California areas of Fresno-Madera, Bakersfield and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside." - Cleanest air, in a metropolitan area, goes to.... Fargo, ND. The poor particulates can't hang out in air filled with freezing snow!


Posted by Rob at 1:14 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Slow down

Visalia Times Delta: "The Passat was traveling at a speed too fast for the roadway and the driver, Masson Blow, 19, of Lompoc, lost control, the CHP reported." - I spent just over a year driving this highway when I worked for Paramount Farms. I have friends that still drive it. It's an extremely dangerous road because people tend to get very stupid. It's a two lane road in the middle of nowhere so folks believe they can drive 90+ and get away with it. The problem is they can't control their vehicle at those speeds and folks pay the ultimate price. There are multiple deaths on 41 EVERY year. You'd think the CHP would be given the resources to properly police the area and write monster tickets, along with hauling folks to the pokey, for speeding.

One of Exeter's own, Casey Goodwin, was kill on that very highway in 2003.

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Posted by Rob at 9:25 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Bye-bye Pontiac

CNN Money: "NEW YORK ( -- General Motors is preparing to announce that the Pontiac car brand, once marketed as GM's 'Excitement division,' will be killed off, according to a source familiar with the decision." - Go to the article and take a look at the unit sales figures. Chevrolet outsold every other division combined.


Posted by Rob at 7:38 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Cringely on the setting Sun

I, Cringely: "It's easy. First drop all the bits of Sun that don't make money. Then drop all the bits that don't fit in Oracle's strategic vision. Bring the back office entirely into Redwood Shores. The cut what overhead is left to match the restructured business. Sell SPARQ to some Asian OEM. Cut R&D by 80 percent, saving $2.4 billion per year. I'm guessing sell StorageTek, maybe even to IBM. And on and on. Gut Sun and milk what remains." - So it would appear Sun could've been purchased for a few core items; Java, Solaris, and MySQL. Oracle could make some killer rackmount appliances now. Traditionally Oracle ran best on Solaris running on Sparc. It'll be interesting to see if they beef up efforts to run Solaris on Intel. Could you imagine an Enterprise level database-in-a-box appliance running Intel, Solaris, and Oracle Database? I can.

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Posted by Rob at 8:02 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

How stupid can you get? Pretty stupid.

Fresno Bee: Police say a Bulldog gang member held down his 7-year-old son while another gang member tattooed a gang insignia -- a dog paw -- on the boy's right hip. - Unbelievable.

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Posted by Rob at 7:31 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Cool job, Meteor Games

Meteor Games: "Meteor offers a huge amount of perks including giant bean bags, all the latest consoles (PS3, 360, Wii), free parking, an awesome arcade machine, free lunch Fridays, nerf wars and an endless supply of breakfast bars/soft drinks." - Fun perks! If you're a web head, love CSS, XHTML, and JavaScript, and live in, or around, West Hollywood, CA, this could be just the job for you!

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Posted by Rob at 1:23 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Terrorists? Who needs 'em?

CNN: "Speaking to an energetic and angry tea party crowd in Austin Wednesday evening, the Lone Star State governor suggested secession may happen in the future should the federal government not change its fiscal polices." - Crazy talk. Go ahead, secede. So many are worried about terrorists, we don't need them to tear the country apart, all we need is a looney governor and a group of crazies to make it happen.

Honestly I think the news is making a bigger deal of it than it really is. I don't think the Texas Governor is that stupid, he's just unhappy with the way things are going.

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Posted by Rob at 7:11 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Satellite Radio doomed?

James Robertson: "If you're in the market for Satellite radio, you probably already have a net connection. Why pay a monthly fee for music when you can hook a laptop, phone, or gadget like this to the net?" - I think it's absolutely doomed. We have quality podcasts you can listen to at your convenience and I'm sure we'll have mobile wireless in the car before you know it. Once we have that, well, you have Pandora and 8Tracks, then who needs satellite radio?


Posted by Rob at 8:44 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

What is Twitter?

Twitter birdy with signScripting News: "In a way, as a user of Twitter, I have the same business model as the investors in Twitter. I don't know what it is, but I have a feeling there's something here. I look at it this way, if you tried to tell me what we're doing on Twitter has nothing to do with what we'll be doing with networks in the future, I'd be 100 percent sure you were wrong. There's something here. The challenge is to figure out what it is." - Look at Twitter, now look at Facebook. A while back I said I didn't get Facebook, but a wise man informed me it was a way for non-techies to have a presence on the web. He was right. If you take this weblog, combine it with Twitter, Friendfeed, Flickr, and possibly some others you get something like Facebook, only as the author you have complete control over the "dashboard" to your life, the weblog portion.

The weblogging community is a loose community, Twitter is only slightly tighter knit, and Facebook is the tightest knit. Twitter and Facebook integrate search which makes it seem easier to locate people you might share interest with. I know I've mentioned things on my Twitter feed, like "I'm having a Firestone DBA, while BBQ'ing" and the next morning I have two new followers, one with interest in beer and one with interest in BBQ.

How long will it be before we have a Twitter like service that's embedded into your weblog that federates our loosely coupled community? Maybe Twitter could fill, or is filling, that need.

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Posted by Rob at 7:28 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Reality at The Magic Kingdom

CNN: "Imagine one day receiving recognition for decades of service from your employer only to be laid off the next day. That is what happened to one Walt Disney Parks and Resorts employee who asked not be identified." - Disney is one of those companies I'd love to work for. I've always loved visiting DisneyLand and loved their animated films, even before they acquired Pixar. I hope they can keep chugging along and come out the other end of this poor economy stronger than ever.

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Posted by Rob at 1:21 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

I, Cringely on Sun

I, Cringley: "I know that Sun walked away from the deal, by the way. Im not THAT out of touch with the world. I just think that understanding the Sun mindset might help explain that bonehead move." - At one point I was a Sun fanboy, and wanted to work there. Now, it would seem they're trying their darndest to become a piece of Silicon Valley folklore. I hope Schwartz is some kind of genius that knows something the rest of us don't, for his sake and the sake thousands working there.

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Posted by Rob at 8:08 AM | 1 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Steve Buttry: "It's sad to see the industry that has so vigorously defended the First Amendment and freedom of expression now talking about going to court and wasting lots of attorneys' fees trying to attack the doctrine of fair use."


Posted by Rob at 8:10 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Blockbuster, going, going...

Macworld: "Once Goliath to Netlflix's David, Blockbuster appears on the defensive in an effort to stay relevant to movie fans and viable as a business. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee Monday, Blockbuster stated it may have to permanently close its retail stores. The company recently took out a $250 million loan-on top of its $780.9 million debt-and does not know if it can meet the conditions of the loan." - Wow, that's tough. We've only recently switched over to Netflix, mainly due to instant queueing for our XBox, but we haven't used it yet, we've been getting DVD's by mail, and the turnaround is amazing. Blockbuster waited way too long to get into the mail order business.

Here's an idea for them. Close the brick and mortar stores. Try to go head to head with Netflix order by mail and create kiosks, like the Redbox folks have. Either that, or you could close the doors completely. Sad.

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Posted by Rob at 7:17 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Almost Perfect

Word Place: "The book, Almost Perfect, was originally published by Prima Publishing in 1994. It is the story of the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation from my point of view. The book sold a little less than 10,000 copies and is now out of print. The copy published here is almost identical to my original manuscript and does not contain Prima's edits. In this version, I have corrected two factual errors, fixed five typos, deleted a few pages at the end, and added a final paragraph." - This book is well worth the time it takes to read it. I'm just getting started and though I'd post about it so I could revisit later, to continue reading. I'm old enough to remember what I'd consider the golden age of software. A time when we had all sorts of competition. It wasn't just Microsoft and some small players, it was Microsoft vs. Lotus vs. WordPerfect, and that was just for one application space, word processing. We had companies with law firm names, names like Ashton-Tate. It was a very exciting time.

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Posted by Rob at 10:48 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

New Orleans Brewing

NY Times: "The difficult recent history of the Crescent City hangs like a specter over gutted houses and weedy, desolate lots. But despite the tough times, the spirit of New Orleans is as wily as ever. Arriving there still feels like showing up at a party in full swing." - I think I need to map out a Beer Tour of America, or maybe Beer and BBQ?

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Posted by Rob at 8:55 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Google StreetView car blocked?

CNN: "Fearing the appearance of their well appointed properties on the Web site would attract criminals scouting for burglary targets, villagers in Broughton, north of London, summoned the police after spotting the car." - Can't say that I blame them. If they ever come to Exeter I'm going to make sure I'm out in front of our house so I show up in the map. Smile, life is good!

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Posted by Rob at 9:29 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Today, that's when

Visalia Times Delta: "Gottschalks officials have yet to announce when they'll begin to sell off merchandise, furnishings and equipment after being sold in a bankruptcy auction." - Kim and I noticed folks on the corner of Mooney and Caldwell, in Visalia, with signs advertising "Gottschalks - 60% off, everything must go." I think the reporters need to get out more.


Posted by Rob at 4:00 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

SGI, a sad story

BusinessWeek [via Steve Mitchell(FF)]: "There was a time when Silicon Graphics Corp. was the Apple Inc. of corporate computing. It received coverage out of all proportion to its size, certainly by BW. And for good reason: It involved larger-than-life characters such as Jim Clark, who went on to co-found Netscape. SGI was forever on the cutting edge of technology innovation, and pioneered use of powerful computing technology in the making of movies, game consoles and for early Web companies in the mid-1990s." - I remember seeing a special on ILM, I believe, where they toured ILM's render farm. It was full of SGI boxes. Now, I'm sure, it's full of x86 boxes running Linux. Strange how things evolve, isn't it?


Posted by Rob at 2:07 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Bye-bye Gottschalks

Fresno Bee: "WILMINGTON, Del. -- A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Wednesday approved the liquidation of Gottschalks, a storied department-store chain whose inventory will be sold lock, stock and barrel to pay off crushing debts." - This is pretty darned sad, but it's been coming for a very long time. Gottschalks is a west coast thing, so most people have probably never heard of it, but it's been around for a very long time, 105 years to be exact. One of the malls in Visalia is anchored by Gottschalks, now what? Will we see small businesses around it collapse?


Posted by Rob at 9:20 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Once in a while...

I'm not sure how far and wide RedBox kiosks have spread but we have one in the little town of Exeter, at our local Save Mart grocery store. The reason I mention this is because way back in 2002 I had a similar idea for a kiosk system, in this case I used Blockbuster.

Side note: It's strange looking back on my old weblog posts. A lot of what I posted back then is now posted directly to Twitter. Yes, Twitter has changed the game somewhat.

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Posted by Rob at 8:45 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Weird Dream

Duct Tape, fixer of all things!I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, Adam Corolla, Core Intuition, and my latest find, Developer Lives. Monday, on the drive into work, I listened to the latest Core Intuition, great discussion guys, and on the way home I grabbed the latest Developer Lives. Both podcasts featured Daniel Jalkut, Daniel is the co-host of Core Intuition, and was the featured developer on Developer Lives. The stage is now set...

In my dream I'm working on my Mac only drawing and diagraming desktop application, think Visio. In the dream I'm doing the thing I like to do above all other development jobs, I'm adding scripting capabilities. Mind you, I'm not coding yet, I'm working through what to expose to the outside, and trying to make a scripting environment/language choice. My two choices were AppleScript and Python, because you can embed it in you application, great example Acorn.

I pick up the phone and call Daniel. We're having a nice discussion about the plusses and minuses of both approaches, and the idea of supporting both, then my wife's alarm clock goes off; it's 5:30AM, my dream of a Mac only, highly extensible, drawing and diagramming engine is just that, a dream.

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Posted by Rob at 6:39 AM | 2 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Bi-Costal Freelancer

Richard Caetano: "Living like this opens up a broad range of experiences. Manhattan is great for freelancers. I think that has to do with how social this city is. I find a lot of lateral opportunities because most of the folks I meet here genuinely want to help you out. I made some friends here in the city whom I hold closely." - RC has done a lot of different things in his professional software career. I think he's finally found his place in the world.

About a year ago I was one step away from leaving Pelco to become a freelance developer. In the end I was talked out of it, and backed off the idea. I don't know if I could run the treadmill like Richard, it takes a special kind of person to juggle different jobs, and the ever present possibility you'll run out of work.

It's really nice to see you're enjoying it Richard.


Posted by Rob at 9:11 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

G.W. Bush, author

Citizen Sugar: "Presidents may make $400,000 a year for one of the toughest job in America, but they get paid a whole lot more the write about that tough job! Rumor has it that George W. Bush will get paid around $7 million for his upcoming book." - I like to read a nice comic, or pop-up book once in a while, this could be interesting.

But seriously, I wish President Bush all the happiness, and peace, the world has to offer. Enjoy your retirement, write a few books, do the speaking tour, and enjoy life on the ranch.

Happy trails pardoner...


Posted by Rob at 6:53 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Rock City

The New York Times: "Two other guests that night, a couple in from Chicago, had also just invested in some Detroit real estate. That weekend Jon and Sara Brumit bought a house for $100." - I can't convince my wife to move to Detroit. Strange. I think the 0-16 Lions were the clincher, if they'd won a couple games I may have had a chance! But seriously, go read the article, it's short, and worth a read. People are banding together to make their neighborhoods a better place.


Posted by Rob at 7:47 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Seamus Coremalley says "Have a nice pint of Guinness today!"

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Posted by Rob at 6:26 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

That's weird

Scobleizer: "But what happens to your online life? Who gets the ability to tell your friends about your funeral on Facebook? Who gets access to Flickr to download all your photos? Who owns your URLs (some URLs are worth millions, so they should be protected the same way your house is with a will, but most people haven't thought about it)." - I was mowing the lawns today and it just popped into my head "What will happen to my websites when I die?" Why I was thinking about that I have no idea. It's not like my stuff is worth anything to someone other than maybe my children, but it's nice to know someone has a solution to the "problem."


Posted by Rob at 10:03 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Nail, meet hammer.

James Robertson: "As I said in another post though, why would I use that instead of, say, Pandora? Why pay a monthly fee when I can get music that I'm much more likely to enjoy without the fee? The answer might end up being what saved AM radio: talk (sports and politics)." - Someone I loved listening to on free radio was recently "downsized" and is now podcasting for FREE. Adam Carolla's new show is raw, meaning he likes to drop the f-bomb, but that's how he rolls. I guess the point is we already have alternatives to satellite radio, even for morning talk shows. I know it's not sports or politics, but it's very entertaining, especially for that hour drive to and from work.

The Adam Carolla Podcast has been number one on iTunes for the past two weeks.

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Posted by Rob at 6:40 AM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

MP3 has killed music

Gizmodo: "You know how most people are perfectly happy with Apple standard-issue earbuds, white plastic molded around a crappy audio experience? A Stanford professor's informal annual study shows that youngins like the "sizzle sounds" of MP3s." - No offense Apple, seriously, but the stuff on my iPod Touch sounds like complete caca, compared to CD, but I knew that going into it. It's really quite sad isn't it? We put up with garbage for the sake of convenience.

To be clear, the stuff I have on my Toshiba Gigabeat sounds bad as well. It's not just an Apple thing. It's the low-quality-for-the-sake-of-drive-space that's the problem.

This is why CD's are still necessary.

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Posted by Rob at 11:18 AM | 10 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.

Starbucks Customer Horror Stories

Starbucks Gossip: "Here's the perfect story to start a discussion on Starbucks customer horror stories" - Read the comments, pure gold. Our daughter has never shared a story quite like any of these, maybe that's a good thing.

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Posted by Rob at 3:25 PM | 0 comments | Click here for a permalink to this entry.


Rob Fahrni has been a Software Developer for 20 years. He's developed DOS, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Palm based applications in C, C++, Objective-C/Cocoa, C#/ASP.Net, and, yes, even BASIC...
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