Saturday, September 30, 2006

TOPIC: Life Is Short; P_ay Hard!
Devotion by Woodrow Kroll & Tony Beckett
Perhaps you have seen this slogan: "Life is short. Play hard." Perhaps you have also seen the rewritten version: "Life is short. Pray hard." One letter makes all the difference. It is the difference between a temporal mind-set and an eternal one.
A temporal mind-set thinks primarily about the things of now. It focuses on this world as if it is all there is. The time is now because there is no other time. It embraces an "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die" philosophy of life.
The Christ follower, however, knows that this life is only temporary; the world to come is permanent. So, we have only this much time and we better make good use of it-good use not in the sense of getting maximum pleasure as we play hard, but as we make it count for all eternity.
It is foolish to waste time. Paul, the apostle, both warns and encourages us: the time we have is limited and the days are evil, so we need to make the best use of our time to impact this world for Jesus while we have opportunity.
Opportunity is originally a Latin word that means "toward the port." When the winds and tides were favorable, the sailing ship would take advantage of the "opportunity." The days are evil, Paul says, which sounds like unfavorable winds, not favorable. Still, this is our time, our opportunity. Life is short. Pray hard.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

TOPIC: Taxation Without Representation!
I think we need a flat tax system... or some other reformed evaluation system for taxes.
This repeated taxation is absurd. Recently, my wife and I purchased a new Pontiac SV6 van. We had just paid the taxes on our old van ('03 Grand Caravan traded in). We had to pay sales tax on the new van. Then, we had to pay the taxes on the license tags for the new van. Soon, we will pay property taxes on the same van. In all, we will be taxed FOUR TIMES for the purchase and use of our vehicle. That is ludicrous!
If you make money, you pay taxes on your income. When you spend money, you pay taxes on the product/service purchased. If you save or invest money, you pay taxes on any earned interest. If you die, but didn't jump through hoops to distribute your money, your family pays taxes on their inheritance.
No wonder the Boston Tea Party occurred. Taxation without representation is now the law of the land. Worse yet, there is infinite waste of our tax dollars in Washington -- on BOTH side of the aisle.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TOPIC: Dinosaur Sightings: Computers from the 1970s
As you know, I really like computer history! Today, I ran across some pages on -- pages that show pics and short blurbs about computers from the 1970s. If you're too young to know that computers existed in the 1970s, you'll find these pages interesting. You might also check out the pages for Computers from 1980-1983.
In case you're wondering -- the first PC yours truly (computer geek) used was a Radio Shack TRaSh-80. Anyway, kick your feet up, get a Starbucks half latte and wander back in time...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

TOPIC: Yellow dog icon - Is the Scotty doggie safe?
Speaking of viruses...
We just had a slight crisis in the IT department. All of a sudden one of the guys starts asking questions about a little yellow dog icon attached to an EXE file in his C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder. He deleted the file, but it came back -- with a different filename. Red flag #1. He tracked down the Windows XP Registry entry and deleted it. Upon reboot, the file was recreated (with a different filename) and the registry entry was back. Red flag#2. The file was running as a Network Service -- from the Temp folder. Red flag #3.
To make a long story short... After some intense research, we found that the little Scotty dog icon represents an executable used by Trend Microicon. TM uses this file as part of its security application to keep would-be attackers from killing the browser anti-hijack program. So, if you see a little yellow dog icon in your C:\WINNT\TEMP or C:\WINDOW\TEMP folder, check it out. BUT, if you can't find the culprit AND you (or your company) use Trend Micro, rest assured. Your PC is safe. Anytime you want to be sure, visit a site like TrojanScan or Trend Micro's Housecall to run an online scan (always up-to-date).
TOPIC: The Invention of the Microprocessor
I can't resist just one more piece of computer history today...
Intel scientist Ted Hoff designed the "computer-on-a-chip microprocessor" in mid-1968. His idea of a universal processor, instead of custom-designed circuits, was developed while working with an Intel client on calculator chip designs. Hoff's new chip is dubbed the Intel 4004. It was released to the commercial sector in late 1971. This microprocessor invention is credited as the start of the microcomputer industry.
TOPIC: Computer History - The Virus
In his doctoral dissertation, Fred Cohen formally defined a computer virus as “a computer program that can affect other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a copy of itself.
Computer virus predecessors had shown up in the 1960s, the first being a memory saturating program called Core Wars. A program called Elk Cloner, written for Apple II systems in 1982, is believed to be the first computer-spreading virus. The first IBM-PC virus is the Brain virus, which appeared in 1986.
Since that time, literally tens of thousands of viruses have been written -- and released on unsuspecting computer users. If you own a home PC or laptop, you shouldn't be without a suite of security products, including anti-virus, firewall, adware killers and even wi-fi protection. I recommend getting something like McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006icon, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6.0icon or AntiSpyware/Personal Firewall/QuickClean 2006icon. At the very least, get a malware killer like Webroot Spy Sweeper v5icon! And ALWAYS practice safe hex!

Monday, September 25, 2006

TOPIC: How many MPG does your primary vehicle get?
More than 50 mpg (less than 4.70 L/100km) 1%
40-50 mpg (4.70-5.88 L/100km) 2%
30-40 mpg (5.88-7.84 L/100km) 14%
20-30 mpg (7.84-11.76 L/100km) 45%
15-20 mpg (11.76 - 15.68 L/100km) 24%
15 mpg (11.76 - 23.52 L/100km) or less 10%
Do not know/Not Applicable 1%
Total votes: 30753
Poll supplied by /

I wonder if this is a representative sampling of all US vehicle owners. I would venture a guess that it is. If so, then we are finally buying more fuel efficient vehicles. That's the good news. The disappointing statistic is that 34% (10,456) of vehicle owners polled still have automobiles and SUVs that get less than 20mpg.
Folks, Venezuela is becoming an arch enemy of the US, yet we still buy more than one million barrels of oil a day from that rogue state. Isnt' it time to change both our driving habits AND our vehicles? Those Excursions, Expeditions, F350s, Hummers and other gas guzzling behemoths need to be parked in leiu of more fuel efficient (not to mention safer for everyone around) vehciles. Don't just think this one over, folks. It's past time to ACT!
At the very least, we all need to make sure our vehicle's engine is tuned, our tires are properly inflated and the filters are clean. Those things can result in as much as an 8% increase in gas mileage -- saving ALL of us dollars and the earth from more environmental problems.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

TOPIC: Talking Veggies Stir Controversary at NBC
I just read a stirring article. Here is the article... along with my comments and a public statement from Big Idea:
Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber always had a moral message in their long-running "VeggieTales" video series. But now that the vegetable stars have hit network television, they can't speak as freely as they once did, and that's got the Parents Television Council steamed. The conservative media-watchdog group issued a statement Wednesday blasting NBC, which airs "VeggieTales," for editing out some references to God from the children's animated show. "What struck me and continues to strike me is the inanity of ripping the heart and soul out of a successful product and not thinking that there will be consequences to it," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council. "The series is successful because of its biblical world view, not in spite of it."
That's the signature to VeggieTales. VeggieTales is a collection of animated home videos for children that encourage moral behavior based on Christian and biblical principles. More than 50 million copies have been sold since 1993, according to Big Idea Inc., which produces the series. Two weeks ago, NBC began airing 30-minute episodes of "
VeggieTales" on Saturday mornings. The show was edited to comply with the network's broadcast standards, said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks.
"Our goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible with these positive messages while being careful not to advocate any one religious point of view," she said. "VeggieTales" creator Phil Vischer, who was responsible for readying episodes for network broadcast, said he didn't know until just weeks before the shows were to begin airing that non-historical references to God and the Bible would have to be removed. Had he known how much he'd have to change the show — including Bob and Larry's tagline, "Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much," that concludes each episode — Vischer said he wouldn't have signed on for the network deal.
"I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money," he said, adding that "there weren't enough shows that could work well without those (religious) references." All programs set to air on NBC must meet the network's broadcast standards, said Alan Wurtzel, a broadcast standards executive. "VeggieTales" was treated the same as any other program, he said. "There's a fine line of universally accepted religious values," he said. "We don't get too specific with any particular religious doctrine or any particular religious denomination." Vischer said he understands the network's position. "`VeggieTales is religious, NBC is not," he said. "I want to focus people more on `Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television.'" Marks said the network is "committed to the positive messages and universal values" of the show and expects "VeggieTales" to continue airing.
But Bozell isn't satisfied. "If NBC is so concerned about that four-letter-word God, then they shouldn't have taken `VeggieTales'," he said. "This just documents the disconnect between Hollywood and the real world."

I completely agree with Bozell. The signature of Veggie Tales is the Christian message. That message is the reason Veggie Tales has been so successful. It's sad that NBC regularly allows words like b1tch, @ss, d@mn, and even the f-word now and then. BUT, God and His Holy Word are not allowed. How ludiscrous!
Big Idea seems to think otherwise. A statement on their website says,
"When we were presented with the opportunity to reach a mass television audience, we knew that certain religious references would not be allowed on a children's block under current TV network guidelines. And we recognized that we were not going to change the rules of network television overnight. In light of this, 'Can Big Idea continue to fulfill its mission of enhancing the spiritual and moral fabric of society through creative media?' became the question we had to answer. Can VeggieTales make a difference on Saturday morning? We think so."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

TOPIC: Laden alive and healthy: Pakistani intelligence
Pakistani intelligence circles have strongly refuted a French newspaper report claiming that al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had died of typhoid in the country some time between August 23 and September 4 this year. “Based on the information gleaned from several arrested al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, we can say with authority that Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman Al Zawahiri and the former Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar are very much alive and in good health,” said a senior intelligence official in Rawalpindi.
We are sure that bin Laden is hiding somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said. “We believe that his deputy sometimes moves back and forth between the two with the help of Mullah Omar and his associates.” The intelligence official said that even the American intelligence sleuths stationed in Pakistan are convinced that the al-Qaeda leader and his deputy are well and hiding somewhere on the Pak-Afghan border. “And they are trying to hunt him down,” the official said.
Further word on the possible death of Usama Bin Laden comes via The Houston Chronicle...

Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry offered no details. "I've heard the reports, but I have no information at all. I have no idea," spokesman Mansour al-Turki told The Associated Press. In Washington, Blair Jones, a presidential spokesman, said the White House could not confirm the report's accuracy. But two U.S. intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said U.S. agencies had no information to suggest bin Laden was dead or dying.

A senior official in Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry said he was very skeptical of the document, noting past false reports of the death of bin Laden. He declined to let his name be used because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tasnim Aslam, called the information "speculative," saying his government had no information on bin Laden.

TOPIC: Probe into 'Bin Laden death' leak
The BBC is reporting something shocking this morning. Here is the article from
President Jacques Chirac has ordered an inquiry into the leak of a French secret service memo claiming that Osama Bin Laden had died. Mr Chirac told reporters he was surprised the memo had been leaked, and refused to comment on the claim itself.
A French newspaper quoted a document as saying the Saudi secret services were convinced the al-Qaeda leader had died of typhoid in Pakistan in late August. Officials in Pakistan and the US said they could not confirm the account. Saudi-born Bin Laden was based in Afghanistan until the Taleban government there was overthrown by US-backed forces in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
Since then, US and Pakistani officials have regularly said they believe he is hiding in the lawless border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. His last videotaped message was released in late 2004, but several audio tapes have been released this year - the last at the end of June, in which Bin Laden praised Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, who was killed in an American air strike.
In its report, French regional daily L'Est Republicain said it had obtained a copy of a DGSE foreign intelligence service report dated 21 September. "According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama Bin Laden is dead," it read. "The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al-Qaeda fell victim, while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, to a very serious case of typhoid that led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs."
Mr Chirac said: "I am surprised that a confidential memo from the secret services has been published, therefore I've ordered the defence minister to start an inquiry. As far as the information itself is concerned, it's not confirmed in any way. Therefore I have no comment at all."
The Washington-based IntelCenter, which monitors terrorism communications, said it was not aware of any similar reports on the internet. "We've seen nothing from any al-Qaeda messaging or other indicators that would point to the death of Osama Bin Laden," director Ben Venzke told the Associated Press news agency.

Friday, September 22, 2006

TOPIC: IE Bug Can Be Exploited Via E-Mail
Just previewing a message could result in a computer hijacked by a bot or loaded with adware, spyware, or other malicious code, a researcher says.
By Gregg Keizer / TechWeb
Exploits against the unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer are increasing and attackers are gathering momentum, researchers said Thursday. They warned that the problem would become worse if cyber criminals attack via e-mail next. "It might come to nothing, but it feels like a storm's coming," said Roger Thompson, the chief technology officer at Exploit Prevention Labs. "The potential is there. Call it a storm watch, not a storm warning."
At least two different exploits have appeared this week, said Thompson, one linked to the Russian-made hacker exploit kit called WebAttacker, the other posted early Thursday on the xSec gray-hat vulnerability research site. That second exploit can launch remote code without using JavaScript, as did the original inserted in the WebAttacker kit; it's more dangerous for that reason. "The xSec exploit doesn't work as posted," said Thompson. "It only crashes the browser. But it looks like it would be easy to turn it into a working exploit."
Worse, the current attack vector -- malicious Web sites that infect only those who happen to view one of their pages -- may be replaced by a wide scale attack carried out by e-mail, said Ken Dunham, the director of iDefense's rapid response team. "The newest exploit works with e-mail," said Dunham. "We took the newest version of Outlook, all patched, and the exploit crashed it." With some help from iDefense researchers, however, the exploit was able to execute other code. That means e-mail clients that preview HTML messages using the IE rendering engine are at risk. Just previewing a message could result in a computer hijacked by a bot or loaded with adware, spyware, or other malicious code. "You would be attacked immediately, as soon as the preview is rendered," said Dunham.
Dunham's surer than Thompson that the VML vulnerability will soon explode. "It's imminent. I would not be surprised if a small number of e-mails were already being sent to companies or governments."
"It would be nice if Microsoft released a patch," he added. But there are no
indications that Microsoft will break from its regular security update schedule, which is set to release fixes on October 12th, two-and-a-half weeks away. For Dunham, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that slick, sophisticated cyber criminals will target specific organizations -- companies, universities, and government agencies -- with e-mail infections. "There are people out there with a military or state or political agenda. They have targets, and they've identified those targets. All they're doing is looking for a way to compromise those computers."
The motivation? One of the oldest in the book: Money. "There is a market in the underground for corporate or government secrets," said Dunham. "An attack [like this] could even threaten a country's national security."
Isn't it time we all switched from Internet Explorer to a more secure browser? Website authors should stop forcing us to use IE6 and get smart -- or they may be left in the dust cloud of vulnerabilities and malware. The root of the problem lies with Microsoft, though. They are to blame for the holes that plague Internet Explorer. Microsoft is the ONLY ONE that can fix the problem -- yet they constantly choose to put bandaids on a gaping wound. I don't want government interference in Internet matters, so maybe it's time large private sectors companies and public interest groups started putting TONS of pressure on Microsoft.
Personally, I use Firefox 99% of the time and Internet Explorer only on sites that require it. Even then, I send nastygrams to the webmaster telling them how shortsighted and insecure their websites are for forcing IE use. THINK it over and then ACT folks. It's high time Microsoft's feet was held to the fire.
Netflix, Inc.
TOPIC: Experts Say "Tie Doctors' Pay to Quality"
As a hospital employee, I was very glad to see the following article on
Anyone who makes a living in sales knows about incentives: The better you do your job, the more money you earn. But chances are your doctor has never encountered that equation. He or she probably gets paid for whatever tests, diagnoses, or treatments are delivered, regardless of whether they are the right ones.
That could soon change, if a growing number of policy makers get their way. Increasingly, economists, researchers, and federal health officials are getting behind the idea of tying doctors' fees to how effectively and efficiently they do their jobs, and how well the care they deliver adheres to the best scientific data. Some private health companies have already begun offering doctors incentives for closely following standards in treating ailments like heart disease or diabetes.
This is great news! For at least three decades, physicians have pretty much had the attitude that they deserve to be rich; that YOU must wait on them and that they are superior to everyone with whom they work. [I know the last one first hand as I have dealt w/ doctors off & on for almost two decades now.]
While this is a stereotypical characterization, it is true of a large part of the M.D. population. Medicare and insurance companies should force doctors to actually perform better in order to get paid. Welcome news!
Read the entire article here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

TOPIC: FDA Updates Warning on Contraceptive Patch - Risk of blood clots in legs, lungs prompts label change for Ortho Evra patch
Article by Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it has updated the label on the Ortho Evra birth-control patch, warning that some women who use the product face a higher risk of blood clots.
The label revision came after the final results of a study, commissioned by the drug's maker, Johnson and Johnson, found that users face twice the risk of clots in the legs and lungs than women taking traditional birth-control pills. But a second study, also commissioned by Johnson and Johnson, found no difference in risk between the patch and the pill. "Even though the results of the two studies are conflicting, the results of the second epidemiology study support FDA's concerns regarding the potential for Ortho Evra use to increase the risk of blood clots in some women," the FDA said in a statement on its Web site.
"Blood clots occurring in the legs or lungs are serious and rare events that are a potential risk for all hormonal contraceptive therapies," Dr. Daniel Shames, the acting deputy director of FDA's Office of Drug Evaluation in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told a press conference.
Read the entire article here - especially if you're using the patch now. There are a lot of considerations when thinking about contraception. Here's a link to a book that may help each married couple make the best decision for their family: The Contraception Guidebook: Options, Risks, and Answers
TOPIC: Internet / Computer History - 11 Years Ago
In response to growing public interest in the Internet, Microsoft created an add-on to the Windows 95 operating system called Internet Explorer in September, 1995. The Internet Explorer 1.0 web browser was developed from a licensed copy of the Spyglass Mosaic browser. At the time of Internet Explorer's release, Microsoft's browser competitor Netscape had almost 80% of the entire web browser market.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

TOPIC: Audio Adrenaline - My Fav Band
Have you ever heard of them? If you like "hard-driving" rock-n-roll, you probably have heard of AudioA. They are an excellent band, with HUGE talent and small egos. They play small and large venues and never disappoint the audience. Audio Adrenaline is not a hard rock or metal band. They are PURE rock -- with a positive message.
My favorite CDs from Audio Adrenaline are:
Underdog Audio Adrenaline - Underdog
Bloom Audio Adrenaline - Bloom
Hit Parade Audio Adrenaline - Hit Parade
If you just want to get a taste of the band, check out: Adios - Greatest Hits Audio Adrenaline - Adios - The Greatest Hits.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

QOTD: Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again. -- Og Mandino
Simply Audiobooks, Inc.

Monday, September 18, 2006

TOPIC: The War on Terror -- Interrogations Should Be Harsh
Bill O'Reilly is a very outspoken person. His FOXNews show is highly rated by many on the right -- and publicly ridiculed by all of the left. I agree with him on many points and disagree with him on some. His Sunday Talking Points segment, Why USA Will Lose War on Terror if Things Don't Change, offers a good apologetic on why we MUST be able to interrogate prisoners of the war on terror -- without pussy-footing around with them.
"America's fighting a barbaric enemy whose entire strategy is to commit atrocities. That's all the terrorists do: commit crimes. And many misguided Americans believe we cannot even interrogate these people harshly when lives are at stake.
It is absolutely impossible to keep America safe by affording captured terrorists name, rank, and jihad number. For all the false accusations that the USA is a torture nation, there have only been a handful of cases where water boarding and other harsh measures were approved. Right now in Guantanamo Bay, detainees are allowed eight hours of sleep, three meals a day, two hours of outside exercises daily, and a bevy of entertainment and religious options.
For our trouble, the detainees throw bodily fluids at our guards hundreds of times a year. And there have been 90 stabbings by the captives, including an American doctor who was trying to save a detainee's life. Military doctors in Gitmo now wear body armor when examining detainees. So once again, it comes down to theory versus reality. The terrorists can do anything. We can't do much.
Senator John McCain and others believe if we go further than intense conversation, our soldiers will be in jeopardy if captured. Well, Senator McCain knows better than anyone else. They already are, as the senator was brutally tortured by the North Vietnamese, who had signed the Geneva Convention. A few months ago, two American soldiers were captured in Iraq. They were sliced to death with machetes, photographed, and their bodies displayed on the Internet. If military people do capture those suspected of doing that, they now can't use any techniques other than conversation. Let's call it, 'we'll ask, don't tell.'
As Talking Points stated Thursday night, President Bush is correct in asking for legal authority to use coercive interrogation methods in selective cases. The most noble thing in the world is saving lives. Sometimes harsh measures are needed to do that."
I couldn't agree more. I believe there can be a balance between the Geneva Convention rules and harsh interrogations. We must be able to push the terrorists HARD in order to get information that will save lives. The kind of abuse that took place in Abu Graib is unacceptable. However, there are other methods that can and should be used to help win the war on terror. Make no mistake, if we go easy on terrorists, we will reap the harvest of their hatred and wraith.

TOPIC: Driving & Cell phones -- A Dangerous Combination
Reuters reports...
California has banned motorists from talking on cell phones unless they use a headset or speakerphone. The law will not take effect until July 1, 2008, to allow time to educate the public.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the measure, urged Californians not to wait until then to put down their phones while driving, citing government data showing those who held their phones while driving were involved in 15 times more accidents than those with hands-free setups.
"The simple fact is that it is really dangerous to talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time," Schwarzenegger said. "It's very important for people to know ... stop using the cell phone right now, because you are putting people at risk."

I know this to be 100% true -- especially for women and teens. OK, I know that was a cheauvanistic remark, but true nonetheless. Many (NOT all) women have their cell phones glued to their ears the entire time they're in the car. Worse yet, inexperienced kids -- who don't really know how to drive in the first place -- slumped back in their little ricers; racing around with cell phones stuck to their faces. No wonder women and kids have the highest accident rates in the nation.
I can't tell you how many near misses I've witnessed that included people talking on cell phones and not paying attention to the 3000 lb. vehicle they are piloting. PUT THE CELL PHONE DOWN AND DRIVE! If you truly need to talk while driving, buy a $10 headset or Bluetooth and keep BOTH hands on the wheel! It's a no-brainer folks.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

TOPIC: Violent Irony
I'm sitting here watching SpikeTV this Sunday afternoon. The TV was left on Spike after two episodes of Star Trek:TNG. "Video Justice, crime caught on tape" #1 and #2 were just on. How ironic that VJ talked about the violence of criminals, as though its source is not understood. Throughout the program were commercials showing The Russian Specialist -- a very violent movie, along with commercials for The Ultimate Fighter 4 -- an extreme fighting, pseudo-reality show.
It's ironic that the producers on SpikeTV offer a show that reports on violence as a serious topic -- including the ramifications of the crimes committed. Then, they show commercials of Dolph Lungren shooting people while the dub-over asks, "What's he specialize in?" Second voice sarcastically says, "Killing people, I guess".
On one hand, SpikeTV shows how serious crime is through the lens of video cameras. On the other hand, SpikeTV touts television shows, movies and games that are extremely violent -- as though the two have nothing to do with each other. Sickening!
Apple iTunes

Saturday, September 16, 2006

TOPIC: Why should the Pope apologize?
I see absolutely NO reason why the Pope should apologize to Muslims. He QUOTED someone else and that person's writings. He made excellent, true and correct points about Islam. He said what needed to be said -- what many people are afraid to say.
On the other hand, a world news service reported "Two churches were set on fire in the West Bank on Sunday, a day after Muslims hurled firebombs and fired guns at four other West Bank churches and one in the Gaza Strip to protest the pope's comments."
WHO SHOULD APOLOGIZE? It's more than clear that MUSLIMS are the ones who should apologize. It's their hatred, violence and discrimination that is leading to so many problems in the current world politic.

Friday, September 15, 2006

TOPIC: The Browser Wars
George Jones (no, not that one) and Valerie Potter of InformationWeek published an excellent article on the ongoing saga of Internet browser wars. Here's an excerpt and a link to the entire article: "Ever since Netscape took on Mosaic in 1994, companies have been duking it out for domination in the browser marketplace. We relive the biggest and best of the great browser battles."
FWIW, I definitely disagree with Mr. Jones and Ms. Potter on the winner of Round 4. IF Netscape had not won that round, it would not have been a multi-million dollar company offering a completely free browser. Netscape clearly won the Round 4 battle.
Also, in my opinion, Firefox won Round 5. IW's assessment: "The Winner: Depends on how you measure it: Firefox leads in features and security, but IE still commands the lion's share of the market." If IE had won, Firefox would be relegated to a very small and singularly interested group of Linux enthusiasts. Instead, Firefox now commands at least 8% of the browser market, with more people switching or casually using Firefox every day.

TigerDirect, Buy Today, Ships Today!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

TOPIC: Microsoft Unveils the Zune
Rex Crum from reports, "Microsoft Corp. [has] unveiled Zune, a 30-gigabyte music and video player that marks the software giant's entry into a digital-media player market dominated by Apple Computer Inc. with its 80Gb iPod.
said Zune will come with a three-inch screen, which is larger than the iPod's two-inch video screen, as well as built-in wireless and FM-radio tuning technology
-- features that also aren't available on the iPod.
Additionally, Microsoft launched what it calls the Zune Marketplace, an online music site where customers can purchase individual songs or buy a subscription that allows the purchase of unlimited songs for a flat fee.
Microsoft said the Zune would be available in time for the holiday shopping season, but didn't immediately disclose prices for the product, or for songs bought through the Zune Marketplace. Katy Gentes, a Microsoft spokeswoman, said the Zune price would be "very competitive."
The company touted the features of Zune and Zune Marketplace, saying consumers will be able to use Zune's wireless capabilities to share sample tracks of certain songs, music playlists and pictures between Zune devices.
Microsoft's debut of Zune comes two days after Apple revamped its line of iPod media players to include an 80-gigabyte device that can play movies in addition to songs, TV shows and videos and digital pictures. Apple also showed off a new 8GB flash memory version of its iPod Nano device and a 1Gb iPod Shuffle that is about the size of a matchbook.
Microsoft is seen as having its work cut out for it in the media-player market. Apple has a five-year headstart with the iPod, and the latest figures from NPD Group say the iPod has 75% of the U.S. market for digital media players."

Check out for up to date information and discussions on Zune and Zune Marketplace.

OnThisDay: September 14th
1716 - First lighthouse in US lit (Boston Harbor)
1814 - Francis Scott Key inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner"
1848 - Alexander Stewart opens the first US dept store
1899 - Henry Bliss becomes first automobile fatality (NY)
1938 - Graf Zeppelin II, world's largest airship, makes maiden flight
1948 - Groundbreaking ceremony for the United Nation world headquarters (NYC)
1948 - Milton Berle starts his TV career on Texaco Star Theater
1973 - Israel shoots down 13 Syrian MIG-21s
1741 - German composer George Frederick Handel finished composing "The Messiah."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

TOPIC: Five Tips to Increase Your Likeability
I just finished reading an article written by Justin Hartfield of The Prometheus Institute. It helped re-enforce values I already knew to be true. The title is self-explanatory, so I'll list the highlights here.
1. Be positive.
2. Control your insecurities.
3. Provide value.
4. Eliminate all judgments.
5. Become a person of conviction.
I highly disagree with number four, though. It contradicts numbers three and five. If you provide value by having moral values and become a person of conviction, then you must judge some things -- and even some people (or at least their words & deeds).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

QOTD: How unspeakable are our obligations to the grace of God. -- John Newton
Simply Audiobooks, Inc.

Monday, September 11, 2006

TOPIC:September 11th
Today is a somber occasion. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know what 9/11 (or 9-11) means to Americans from ALL walks of life. It was the day that America was attacked by terrorists, on our own soil. We lost almost 3,000 lives that day -- fathers, sons, wives, daughters and children.
Many people died that Monday morning. More are sick and dying now -- from airborne related illnesses, infection, cancer and poisoning caused by the after-effects of the attacks.
One group chose to die rather than allowing their hijacked plane to become a missile headed for the White House or Capital. Firefighters, policemen and ordinary citizens ran into harm's way in order to save others. Hundreds of those folks lost their lives in a heroic effort to help people they didn't know.
It was a horrible moment in time. It was also a time that defined heroism and self-sacrifice.
I was supposed to be in New York City that day, for a business and pleasure trip. Thankfully, certain events changed my plans and I didn't have to go to New York that weekend. I thank God I wasn't there -- wasn't in one of those airplanes or on the ground in Manhattan.
Rather that further pontificate about the fifth anniversary of the al-Qaeda attacks, I'd like to offer a few pictures and links to sites commermorating this day in history. Here are a few noteworthy links:
Flight 93 flag September 11th Memorial