November 2004 Archives

Wal-Mart - Corporate Juggernaut

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If you missed it, CNBC will be reairing the "Age of Wal-Mart" documentary. It really was an eye-opener. I always thought Wal-Mart was a rural store which was quite at home in the deep South. However, during the past 10 yrs it has nearly become a Real Estate firm, in that it has consumed huge stretches of landscape in the US.

In fact, there are many cities that have vowed never to allow Wal-Mart to advance into its metropolitan areas. It has become the Evil Empire in many circles.

It appears that they are also struggling with countless lawsuits, relative to its hiring practices and salary inequities.

Perhaps most intriguing, is Wal-Mart plans to use the controversal RFID technology for its merchandise that ships from China and overseas. It has become apparent that other retailers will soon follow.

Is Wal-Mart Good Innovation Really Good for America?

How many do you have in your town?

Brawl at the Palace

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I'm sure that by now everyone has heard about the fight that broke out during an NBA game between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. The most notable combatant was former St. Johns player, Ron Artest. I must admit that I have always been partial to NY born athletes because they always show tremendous heart, grit and determination.

However, I'm sure that Mike Jarvis is getting flooded with calls regarding the incident. Obviously, the news in MI. has been very one-sided and often sensationialized. After reviewing some of the footage, I believe that it could have been far worse. In fact, the following ESPN articleadds a bit of reason to the incident.

Ode to a mail server

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Well, not exactly. I won't be writing any rhythmic prose in honor of an inanimate object.
However, I did want to share a recent experience I had in building my first mail server.
A client was unhappy with a Win98 machine whose System Registry had been overtaken with trojan adware. The machine was a 2-year old Dell GX-150 desktop, which had 128mb RAM and 20GB hard drive. Basically, it only ran Office productivity software and a web browser for some of his office staff.

Hmmm. I thought, how could I increase the utility of his current hardware ?
Why yes, I knew the answer was obvious. Once again, I put on my Linux evangelist hat, and unfurled the Open Source banner. I offered to extend the useful life of his existing hardware and provide such useful services as a print server, fileserving, disk duplication and mail server.

Perils of Nerdism

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Technical book readers be very wary of the overly friendly fellow patron. On two occasions , albeit different establishments, I've received unwanted solicitation from members of a network marketing organization. It happened to me in NJ and MI.
Please be advised that I have tried several different strategies of earning supplemental income, with Network Marketing being one such method.
I suppose another common thread in both instances was the fact that they were East Indian patrons.

It is customary for me to seek out the computer related books in a Borders or Barnes and Noble. So, as I scanned through the O'Reilly DNS/BIND text, I spotted someone approaching with my peripheral vision.

So here is an excerpt from our dialogue, "Are you a software engineer ?", he asked. I replied, "No, I'm a closet System Administrator." "Oh really", he added with a grin. He went on to say that he worked with Solaris and HP-UX systems. I explained to him that I have been known to make spare change with Linux.

The hook: He said, "You know, I too have a business on the side. I'm involved with E-Commerce." He then asked, "What is your name ?"
Without the blink of an eye, I quickly added, "My name is Omar Blackman." I knew exactly where this conversation was headed. We shook hands.

Call For Help

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As I have stated in the past, I was first introduced to the internet in 1992. In fact, it was during my undergrad days at FAMU. We had old token-ring networks and used IBM's PROFs to send email to the rest of the world.

My computing affliction took root (pun intended) when I was introduced to UNIX in 1994. While at Texas A&M, discovered that UNIX was an industrial strength OS that spawned the internet and later the World Wide Web.

Specifically, I was interested in developing webpages, so that I could tell my story to the world. In most cases, I used Sparc Solaris pizza boxes and vi editor to write mostly primitive webpages. Ultimately, I had to learn UNIX to manifest the webpages.

So I wondered, how could I do this cool stuff at home? In 1996, someone mentioned that I could run an OS called Linux. In those days, it was best known as a clone for the x86 platform.

Weekend Road Trip

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The best part about four-day weekends is the prospect of travelling and of course not going to work on the following Monday. I send this message to you from the sleepy town of Bethany,Tx. Home of the EastTex Telcom Collective. In fact, I'm actually using a 56kb (which connected at ~38.2kb) modem to surf. How repulsive. Well I suppose, that the more things change the more they remain the same.

A dear friend (practically my sister) got married, and she asked me to attend her wedding. So I grabbed my only good fitting suit and hopped a flight to Shreveport, La.
Northwest flight was delayed and the airline route took me through Memphis, TN. Luckily, I changing timezone helped me catch my connecting flight in Memphis. It too was late.

The Incredibles

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As promised, I have continued the wildly successful film critiques. This time I'm breaking away from the norm, in that I am reviewing a film animation.
Why is this any different you ask ? Well, I rarely watch cartoons on TV, let alone the silver screen. Besides, most cartoons are way too advanced for children anway.
The Incredibles are no different. While there was no graphic violence or gratuitous nudity, the story line is very mature indeed.

Without giving away the plot, lets just say it deals with adult themes relative to superhuman achievement. All of the characters were done in good taste. The voiceovers even featured well-known talent. The most notable was Samuel Jackson.

The Visiting Practitioner

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Ever since I attained the rank of 1st Dan, I have been on a quest to broaden my exposure to other martial arts systems. I have been told that the learning begins, at the black belt level. I was a guest at a Tae Kwon Do dojang over the weekend. I participated in a very intense three hour workout. No water breaks, the only breather we were granted, was to adjust our uniforms. The bulk of our time was spent doing basics and hyungs. Although, I'm not a Taekwondo practioner, I can appreciate the level of difficulty associated with their acrobatic tournament style kicking techniques.
I often wonder if they are very practical in a self-defense scenario.

Music - No Boundaries

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Now that the elections are over, I'll have to find a panacea.

Nothing like a new gadget to cure all ills.
It appears that I may have finally found the piece of hardware that would permit me to pipe my huge audio archive to different areas of my home.

I believe the price point is a bit rich for my taste, but it certainly has potential. The device appears to be very extensible and the most importantly the architecture is 'open'. Sending music through the house wirelessly is very cool.

Rod Chavez: SLIMP3

BTW: I accidently fat-fingered a file that prevented submission of comments. Apologies for the technical difficulties.


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Yeah, I know its late, but I'm sure of you may find this useful. Better late than never.
Someone shared this information and I figured that I would do the same.
Here is a good non-partisan voter information assistant. Good luck today.

African Town

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There has been much talk of late regarding a proposal that would empower the racial majority of Detroit.
For those that are not familiar with the Southeast Michigan city, among its many problems, it is perhaps the most racially polarized metropolitan area in the country.

The African-Town proposal offers a means to further develop black-owned businesses and promote a creative entrepreneural zeal equivalent to that of other ethnic groups (ie Arabic, Mexican, and Greek) in downtown Detroit area. At issue, is that funding would be garnered from publicly available funds. Very controversial indeed.

Many groups are outraged, and have sought to block the legislation. The article below expounds on the case.

Afro-Netizenâ„¢. Substance.â„¢: Detroit council drops blacks-only loans in African Town plan

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