About the author.

Welcome to The blog of whall

Come on in and stay a while… laugh a little. Maybe even think. Read more...

Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

I understand Capitalism.  I embrace greed when it brings out innovation, excellence and a strive to beat the competition.  To make another buck, to finish in first place, or to win the trophy – I applaud how we are inspired and driven by these motives.

But it shouldn’t include cheating, deception or intentionally misleading people.

One example is how some companies send out invoice-looking statements to people for services they get for free.  Or postcards that offer to save the homeowner hundreds of dollars on their property taxes if they hire them, but all they do is file a homestead exception, which the homeowner can do themselves for free.  It just feels wrong, sneaky and cheaty.

I got another example in the mail this past week.  It’s a 4-page letter that consists of

  1. Mostly nothing on the first page (date, addressee, sender)
  2. Blank second page
  3. A third page containing a Notice of Privacy Policy that looks just like every other privacy policy notice you get from every possible company you do business with about what they collect, what they disclose, yada yada yada.  This same page also said in bold type “This Notice is for information only. No action on your part is required
  4. A fourth page, below the fold, letting me know that I may be entitled to a refund of unearned credit insurance if I paid off a loan early

Let me ask you — after the first three pages, would YOU have gone to the fourth page?  I almost threw this letter away, and I believe it was the intent of ANICO (American National Insurance Company) to craft this letter in such a way that most people DO throw it away.  They owe me money, and I bet they’re only required to send a notice of the refund, and if people don’t respond, the company keeps the money.

That?  is sneaky.

You know what else?  The website they list on the fourth page doesn’t work.  They point you to www.anico-cid.com/refund but that page doesn’t exist.  You have to go to http://www.anico-cid.com/refund.htm.  Yet another mark in the “sneaky” column.

When I called the number to tell them about the website, the person on the phone said “maybe you have to try to browse around the site to find it.”  Yeah, lady.  I’m sure that’s what I have to do.

In order to get the refund, I need to submit some paperwork, including the page that states “no action on your part is required.”

I’d like to find out how many of these notices result in a tidy profit for the company because they’re hiding them deep within privacy policies that people are already trained to throw away.

(more…)

…then there’s something wrong with you.

This is just plain neat. 

I start thinking about the code, the testing, the algorithms, the physics and the talent needed to pull something like this off.  How many hours went into it?  How FUN was it to work on?  Did they have all-nighters?  What kind of cameras did they use?  How much power does it require?  How much does it weigh?  How many crashes did they have from the time they started filming this series of examples to the end? 

What also comes to mind are other facets of human existence that could be augmented by the additional automation and robotry that this new advancement offers. 

It might help with rescue operations…

…or enable remote-controlled terrorism.

It might be unique art and decoration…

…or create new methods of vandalism.

Maybe a little entertainment?

…or present new lows of debauchery.

How about labor savings?

…or cause further atrophy of mankind’s declining work ethic.

It could manifest itself as any sort of task that would become optimized in some way from a self-flying maneuverable object with hand-like protrusions or a payload of some sort.  The mind boggles at the options that are made available.  As computers increase their processing power, analytical judgments and macro-like routines to be stored and called up with a keystroke (or triggered by a stimulus), well… this isn’t your dad’s model rocket, now is it…

How about you?  Do you initially see this gadget as a beacon of hope for innovation and improving our species, or is it a harbinger of the eventual proof of Einstein’s adage that states “our technology has exceeded our humanity?” 

What was your instinct when you first saw the video?

When I read about Bottle Bombs recently after a neighbor saw one down the street from us, right in front of the Elementary School, I wonder about our humanity.  Bottle Bombs are home-made explosive devices made with Drano, tin foil and a plastic soda bottle.  The pranksters terrorists carefully make it, carefully set it somewhere, and carefully LEAVE IT BE.  As soon as it’s moved or jostled by someone, a chemical reaction takes place and 30 seconds later, it explodes with extreme force and boiling liquid.  There’s a video at the Snopes page I linked to.  The idea is they leave it somewhere where someone is likely to pick it up, and leave it somewhere where they’re likely to have to carry it for at least 30 seconds.

I’m not sure how I’d react if my 8yr old son’s hands were blown off by some teenager’s twisted idea of what constitutes a funny prank, all because my son wanted to pick up some trash on our doorstep, in our yard, or at the playground.   Trash.  Trash that was left there intentionally for kids to pick up and become horribly injured by.

I wish nature had a way of making people earn their knowledge.

In a way, I guess it does.  At some point, we’ll all kill ourselves.  That’s likely “the plan” going around in the Universe anyway – surviving our own selves is a rite of passage into the Brotherhood of Intelligent Species up there in the heavens somewhere.  Someone out there is probably betting on us; gambling Republic Credits or Federation Starchips on the 1000:1 odds that we even make it to what we call The Year 2050. 

Who knows – maybe it’s a solid universal fact that no species makes it “in” the first time – that they have to grow, explode, die off and then grow again, hopefully keep something around to remember our mistakes, grow again and eventually “get it”. 

Maybe Atlantis was our most previous try.  I’m pretty sure we’ve forgotten it all.

The whole thing conjures up quotes from Dr. Ian Malcom (played by Jeff Goldblum) in 1993’s Jurassic Park:

The lack of humility before nature that’s being displayed here, uh, staggers me.

I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here: it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could and before you even knew what you had you patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it, you want to sell it!

Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

If you haven’t seen TeeFury yet, it’s quite a neat deal.  It’s a website (and twitter account, iPhone app, email list, etc) where they just sell ONE T-shirt for 24 hours.  For $9.

That whole “gone tomorrow” part?  Absolutely true.  They only sell the one shirt, for the one day, and there ain’t no going back.

If it sells out?  Tough Shirt.

If you missed it by a minute?  Noshirtforyou!

My history with Teefury

I had bought one shirt from them a while back – it was a cool Star Wars inspired design of AT-AT’s as seen behind an X-Ray from a Veterinary Clinic’s point of view.

Since Star Wars is a big part of my job, I thought it quite fitting (haha).  The fact that it’s an instant collector’s item isn’t a bad deal either, because I’m snobby like that.  I also like the weird look of recognition certain people get when they look at my shirt, then look again, then smile when they recognize the AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport).

The “Grab Bag”

Sometimes TeeFury does these things called “Grab Bags”.  You pay $5 a shirt for X number of shirts, and you have absolutely no idea (or control) over what you get.  You might get cool shirts; you might get “whaaaa?” shirts; you might get “ok” shirts; and if you’re like me, you wait for weeeeeeks to find out what you get.

People even post what shirts they got on the forums.  Either they’re commiserating or gloating, or a little of both.

I participated in my first Teefury Grab Bag recently and I must say, I’m quite impressed with the results.

What Did Wayne Get?

I know, you’re wondering what I got from my Grab Bag.  After all, you read my blog because you CAN’T WAIT to know what happens to me, right?

First, let’s get the stupid one out of the way.  WHAT IN THE HILTON HEAD ISLAND is this thing?

It’s a cat.  A happy cat.  riding a Motorcycle with a fish on the tank (heh, fish tank).  Plaid-looking seat.  Detailed jacket, pants, pointy boots, and WHY IS IT YELLOW?!?!?

There’s an explanation over at MyLoveForYou about an artist named Lisa Hanawalt who made a shirt called “Kitty Biker“.  I don’t mind telling you – I’m more lost than a caveman with Tourette’s trying to do open heart surgery with a chainsaw while wearing oven mitts.

At night.

While drunk.

Moving on… We come to something I still am a little lost by (doesn’t take much, I guess… maybe I was put into shock from the first shirt) but at LEAST it’s a little bit appropriate for me.  I am, after all, a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment and the right our Founding Fathers gave us to keep and bear arms.

I googled for a while to try and find out what the name of this shirt is, but failed.  It’s probably on my receipt, which I threw away.  Anyway, here it is for your perusal.

Not bad.  Not good, either… but not bad.

Wait a second.  Is this an anti-2nd-amendment shirt?!?!?!?  I’ll have to do some more self-reflection before I actually wear this down to the next Secede Texas Rally.

The Most Appropriate Shirt Ever Shipped

Then I look at the 3rd shirt and I’m like… whoa, Keanu-style.

YES, that’s a Death Star.

YES, those are Tie-Fighters.

YES, that’s an X-Wing at the bottom.

YES, it’s Space Invaders, Star Wars-style.

YES, IT’S MINE!

Teefury, I think I love you.  I think I want to go out into the galaxy and do wild things with you and then go to Anchorhead and get our memories erased.  Copy that, Gold Leader *wink*  I’d like to take you point five past lightspeed, and it will take me a LOT longer than twelve parsecs to make the Kessel Run.

Now that I have the iPhone app installed, I don’t think I’ll be missing out on too many cool shirts in the future.

Today I sent a support ticket to TechSmith, the makers of the incredibly awesome SnagIt tool.

snagit

I’ve been a user of this product for … shoot, probably 8 years now?  Love it.  LOVE it.  However, some time back, they changed this one little minor piece of functionality in the product and it aggravates me so.  SOOO much.  It’s like I can’t let go.

I’m hoping my sense of humor helps them consider putting the feature back in.

At some point in the last year or so, one of the “upgrades” brought with it the incredibly annoying behavior of completely ignoring the ESCAPE key in Snagit Editor.

Here’s one of my extremely typical tasks, done a dozen times a day:

  • PrintScreen (or CTRL-PrintScreen or ALT-PrintScreen, depending on which profile I want)
  • I review the screenshot, possibly edit it, tweak it with arrows or highlights (nothing I want to save)
  • Press CTRL-A, CTRL-C to put it in my clipboard (sometimes I just want a section of the modified screenshot)
  • Press Escape to dismiss the Snagit Editor
  • Cuss up a storm because Snagit removed this wonderful feature
  • Go and find my mouse, manage to drag the cursor all the way over to the [x] on the screen so I can close the screen, and lament the time I just wasted
  • Switch to my other application (which varies), press CTRL-V and admire my handiwork.

Please either make this an option in preference or just bring the dad-gum feature back.

Why do you sometimes REMOVE features?

What do you think? Over the top?

I heard today is Conspiracy Theory day.  If it isn’t, then it must be a conspiracy to keep it from being so.

So here’s my submission for today:

Man-Caused Iceland Volcanic Ash Fosters in Airline Bailouts, Gun Control

The five-day moratorium on flights that would be affected by the Volcanic ash is a big inconvenience to travelers, but it’s just the right incentive / door-opening event that would make a bailout of the airlines (aka: government ownership) a possibility.

Think of the headlines next month: “Airlines lose 10 billion dollars due to Global Warming”.  “American Airlines forced with bankruptcy”.  All with a complicit media showing many different facets of the manufactured tragedy about how jobs will be lost by hard-working union members.  Underneath every news article you read, it will be up to The People to ensure the unemployment figures aren’t made even worse by allowing transportation to be impacted in such a huge way.  In fact, it will be an assumed truth that transportation, both domestic and international, is too important to be left to the risks put forth by the free market.

“We can’t afford to let an essential resource such as air travel be hindered by unexpected natural disasters,” the articles will say.  They will make a compelling argument how man-caused global warming (Climate Change) has brought forth the recent volcanic eruption, and we only have ourselves to blame.  Nonetheless, the entire global economy is at risk if the airlines cannot be bolstered to the point where they can stay in business, and the only solution available is a bailout.

The reality is that powerful government officials expedited the ash protrusion, and have technology available to cause earth tremors.  In fact, the recent earthquakes were caused by the testing out of equipment, so that the officials could make sure the technology worked like it should.  Haiti, China, and more to come.

The government had planned on this eruption happening at any time between 2009 and 2011, depending on how the other takeover activities were coming along.  They didn’t want it to happen before the health care takeover, and they needed it to happen before they declare a ban on personal weapons (coming later this year or early 2011).

They need just enough time for the airline bailout/ownership grab to take hold (3-9 months), so they can ground/track flights at will.  This will help stem the tide of ammunition sales, and prevent Americans from fleeing the country via air when more people realize what’s going on.

Which ones can you come up with?

(This is a continuation of the previous post, but a little shorter.)

I just got an email from Barack Obama* saying how bad Wall Street is, and that he’s not going to stop until the government does something about it.  He said that it “cannot wait” and people are getting rich while middle class struggle to pay their bills.  Then he asks you to stand with him against Wall Street.

I can only imagine what the government is going to do about it.  The same people who ran Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the same people who run Social Security; the same people who run huge bureaucratic, lobbyist-driven, secretive, “no incentive for reduced costs” government organizations is now going to step in and take care of the free market.

So.  The government’s already in charge of oversight, investigations, and alleged wrong-doings throughout every industry in the nation.  Recently, the government has taken ownership or large stakes in all sorts of industries.  To my way of thinking, they’ve just gotten in the business, and now they have a lot of inconvenient competitors.  Competitors whom the government can oversee, investigate and allege wrong-doing.

When an entity can tax people to get its revenue, there is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for that entity to reduce costs.   Think about it – if you had unlimited funds, wouldn’t you spend more?   The people involved with government are incented, rather, to be “on the take.”  The officiating, dealings and back-door agreements are all tainted by financial and political greed, and that’s on both sides of the political aisle.

It is by capitalistic principles that the system is self-balancing, and everyone becomes truly equal.  In fact, I don’t understand why minorities (women, blacks, gay, immigrants, whatever the grouping) don’t embrace Capitalism more.  Who loves you more than Capitalism?  Who else gives you unlimited potential, constrained only by your own ability, drive and value to others?  Politicians promise you things so you think *they* love you.

Capitalism, on the other hand, has always delivered on its promises, and doesn’t give a darn what your color is.  Capitalism is the closest economic system to nature as you can find, and you dash in a little compassion here, a little protection there, and bam, you’re done.  Equality.  Let Charity, Church and Goodwill take care of anyone else who can’t make it on their own.  You’ll find the recipients a lot better off, too – how grateful is the single mother waiting in line to get a check at a cold hard brick building where people are paid to distribute them free money?  Do you think she wants to change her habits?  Compare that to the mother who gets fed by loving volunteers who give from their own table and with their own hearts.  when people receive charity, their more likely to return the favor later, AND they feel incented to do so!

But instead of Capitalism, we now have a minuscule percentage of the people (about 500 out of 300,000,000) making lofty decisions, shuffling money, inserting laws, dictating what companies can pay their CEO’s, investigating this, legislating that, and tying up company’s resources unnecessarily.  And to what end, you may ask?  Control.  It all comes down to control.

The poem in my last post talked about how the government came and took certain kinds of neighbors, but the author sat by because it wasn’t directly affecting him at the time.

I submit a new version, updated for our current times:

THEY CAME FIRST for the rich,
and I didn’t speak up because they promised to redistribute some of it to me.

THEN THEY CAME for the Insurance Companies,
and I didn’t speak up because they promised me lower premiums.

THEN THEY CAME for the Automobile Makers,
and I didn’t speak up because they promised me a cheaper car.

THEN THEY CAME for the Banks,
and I didn’t speak up because they promised me the bankers wouldn’t get rich any more.

THEN THEY CAME for the Health Care industry,
and I didn’t speak up because they promised me free health care.

THEN THEY CAME for the Student Loans,
and I didn’t speak up because they promised me I could get my loan easier.

THEN THEY CAME for the Wall Street Bankers,
and I didn’t speak up because they promised me “my equitable share.”

THEN THEY CAME for me,
and by that time, I had no job, no car, no money, no credit, no doctor and no-one I could trust to speak up for me.

And everything I was promised never showed up.

Most of those stanzas happened in about a year, folks.  One. Year.

Yup, we got about 3 months left.

Real Change is coming.

* this is not about Obama.  It’s about all government who thinks they know what’s good for you better than you do, while they themselves are subject to the same temptations, corruption and greed as all humans.  Remember, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have” – Gerald Ford, 12 August 1974.

So, a massive fireball shoots across the sky and mysteriously explodes right before it would have hit the planet.

Also, volcano ash is stopping air travel in Europe

volcano-ash-plume

A couple of earthquakes in the last week.

The Haiti disaster.

Swine Flu.

Tsunami.

Katrina.

And it’s Tax Day.

A few of you think I’m crazy, and I won’t stop until all of you do.

Read the rest of the entry for more of the same.

(more…)

February
9
2010
4:30 pm
Categories:
Tags:
Post Meta :

Take a look at my inbox from this morning:

apple-ipad

I mean, come on.

IF YOU’RE GOING TO SPAM ME, LEARN MY LANGUAGE.

How can spammers even sleep at nite, noing how bad they’re grammer and speling is?  its abhoarent and pisses me of. lolz its so bad I just wanna laugh at them cuz they so stoopid. OMG like i have received a new ipad. u didn’t even captalize Apple and every1 noes iPad has a capital P. luzer.  and in the body of the email you said “test apple ipad before it come out” hahaha luzer, it’s “comes out” stupid email person.  good thing you left unusbscribe instructions int he email because i did and you wont be sending me no more stupid emails. well see who the smart one is wont me.

laterz

I know some of you will think me too critical of the President, especially since he hasn’t even finished his first year in office.  But I will take a little time on ye Olde Blog of Whall to point out some things I think important enough to mention.

First off, this isn’t just a “he lied! look at him lying!” or typical partisan finger-pointing at politicians.  All politicians lie.  It’s inexcusable, but there hasn’t been one that I know of that can refute it.  Some lie more than others, perhaps, and others may be over-zealous in their accusations of “lie”.   For example, if they promise to work towards something, and it doesn’t happen, I don’t consider that a lie.

Actually, I want to point out how Obama told the truth. 

Back in 2007, Obama signed the Oath of Presidential Transparency indicating that if he’s elected, he’ll issue an executive order during his first month in office instructing the entire executive branch to put into practice the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, a Google-like search tool will allow you to see how your tax dollars are being spent on federal contracts, grants and earmarks. (here’s his signed oath).  That Act was signed into law by Bush but hadn’t been followed as much as it should.

As such, I could find no such Executive Order signed by Obama.  I did find an undated memo… looks like a press release, though.  Maybe that’s good enough.  There is one about Ethics and stuff, and it’s neat – it says appointees in Executive branch vow not to take gifts from Lobbyists, for example. 

All good stuff, but where’s the transparency?

Early on, Obama promised open government, and talks about policy being open.

This is awesome stuff, but where’s the transparency?

Then there was the whole promise of Health Care Reform Legislation and talks all being out in the open, with hearings broadcast on C-Span, talks available on the Internet, and definitely, whatever may come, definitely NOT behind closed doors.

It all sounds great, but where’s the transparency?

Obama also promised that legislation would be put out on the Internet for at least 5 days for public review before being voted on, and then he later promised it would be out for 3 days, and there have been a few times where bills were voted on the day they were made available.  However, to be fair, I can’t fault Obama for this – he never should have made that promise, because he can’t be held accountable.  It’s not his decision to call a vote or make legislation available.

Either way, it’s all very nice, but where’s the transparency?

I believe I finally found it.  It’s at the airport!

Thank you Obama for bringing transparency to us all!

« newer | older »

Admin
tsk tsk

Ajax CommentLuv Enabled 336ad6ab990e8080f1c0ad1f892428a0