May 2005 Archives

Perceptions are evil

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Why is it that employee productivity is often measured against the time one arrives to the office?
Is this actually true measure of the worth of an individual? In my mind, there really is little correlation between the two.
It is mindboggling to run a business based upon your feelings or perceptions of others. If your staff is getting the job done and paying attention to detail, why be concerned that they all come into the office at the same time. Methinks that it is really ridiculous to walk the aisles checking to see who is at their desks and who is not. People have different working behaviours. It is what makes people unique. One of the problems with the culuture of some very old companies, is that they talk a great deal about work-life balance, but they simply do not walk the walk. The problem here is that the supervision walk around scared, and are then forced to police their subordinates. Not a very healthy atmosphere. Why not focus on the deliverables? Is this not reason that people are hired in the first place? I imagine it is very different for people that punch a timeclock, as they typically are not salaried workers. Hence, they are paid for every minute they work. Obviously, people make a personal choice when opting to punch a time clock. Not something that I'd ever want.

I would love to be able to work from home once a week. Quite frankly, there are meetings that are totally useless. The only reason we're asked to support them is to avoid getting additional assignments. Pretty silly, huh..
I suppose that self-employment has many benefits, specifically the idea of escaping ridiculous office politics.
Surely, it can not be any worse.

Revenge of the Sith

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It's been quite awhile since I've done my ever popular movie review. So I suppose that I need to make up for lost time.
Yeah, I know that several quality copies are abound in cyberspace, but I took advantage of a matinee. Anyway, I'd have to say that Revenge of the Sith is arguably the best film of the year. For those that have not seen the Star Wars trilogy, that would be the films that took place during the late seventies; you need not worry. Actually, the episodes I - III occur before the George Lucas films of the seventies. You may ask, "Why did Lucas create these films out of order?" The answer is quite simple, according to Lucas, the technology was insufficient and could not tell the story appropriately. Therefore, the films were done out of order. So you could see the most recent Star Wars films and not really miss anything.

However, I would strongly encourage you to see the previous film,Attack of the Clones before viewing the Revenge of the Sith.

Hmm, where should I begin? There was alot of action in this film. We witnessed the birth of Darth Vader, as Anakes Skywalker is converted to the dark side of the force. It's very interesting to note that Vader doesn't appear to be quite as menacing. Due in part because, we have watched him grow from a boy. Certainly very different than what we remember from the seventies. As a child, the voice of James Earl Jones brought chills to my spine.

So as not to give away the entire story, I will offer the following viewpoints.
The storyline was rife with deceipt, struggle, and love. You really don't have to be a sci-fi buff to appreciate these qualities in a film.

I especially appreciated the struggle young Skywalker endured, as he battled with the evils of the dark side. Perhaps more notable was the absence of the beloved Ja Ja Binks :)

Do yourself a favor, and check out the matinee.

BitTorrent search tool

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Social Networks - redux

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Seems that more people are gradually warming up to the idea of creating virtual networks. I discussed this idea in an essay awhile ago.

I imagine that the new social portal gives young college students another reason not to study.

Student's Start-Up Draws Attention and $13 Million - New York Times

Wild Spectrum Wars

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Have you ever wondered why less than 3% of Americans own televisions that can receive high-definition broadcasts? The article below explains in painstaking details the corruption and fighting between broadcasters and cable networks. Ironically, it appears that the FCC was powerless against the bloodbath that victimized consumers.

The government is supposed to orchestrate an equitable method of ending the analog television signal without alienating
millions of consumers. I imagine that anyone who has witnessed a HDTV sports broadcast will recognized the difference between the analog and digital HDTV. The difficulty arises when implementation is dependent upon collaborative effort between government, broadcasters, and cable networks.

A very wild unpredictable outcome is to be expected.

Spectrum Wars (02/18/2005)

Miserable ride

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Although I never rode either of the buses mentioned in the article, I can compare my experience on the Rikers Isle Bus. Anyone who is familiar with Queens, can attest that most destinations are two fare zones. In my case, I was on a mission to see my brother who was 'knocked' for aggravated assault. Luckily, I didn't have to deal with the two fare madness, as I drove my car to the Rikers bus depot. Later I would take the bus across the bridge and then go throught the very invasive processing unit.

I certainly pitied the women who make that run, as part of a daily operation. For whatever reason, it's the life that they have chosen to accept.
On the Outside, Busing In - New York Times

Least desired outcome

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Participated in my second tournament in as many years. The outcome was far less enjoyable this time around. I suspect this was purely do to the very talented martial artists that I competed against. I was placed in the seniors division for the forms competition, where I placed fourth. The only problem here is that there were only four contestants. Nonetheless, I came away with 4th place medal. I got an opportunity to speak with one of the judges (4th Dan), he insisted that there was nothing wrong with my Bassai Hyung, he had hoped that I would use more focus and slow down to emphasize the beauty within the Hyung. True indeed, when done correctly Bassai, one of our cobra forms is quite beautiful to witness. Perhaps I'll let you be the judge, I may share a portion of my form for your viewing pleasure.

The Prodigal Son has resurfaced

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Recent reports of Dave Chappelle's demise are indeed overrated. It appears that Time Magazine had a brief interview with the popular comedian.

american black: Dave Chappelle Speaks

You can look, then touch

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Interesting ruling from Criminal Court Judge Judge Richard M. Weinber, which in essence made it legal to pat someone on the rump without their consent. I know what you're thinking, but before you call me a pervert, here me out.

According to the judge 'patting' is ok. He used the literal meaning as contained in the New Oxford English Dictionary.

Whether or not it's sensible, I'll let you be the judge of that.

Gothamist: Judge Says You Can Touch This!

Not clear what Mexican prez, Vincent Fox had in mind when he uttered, "Mexicans will do the job that not even blacks wanted to do." Fox was called to task by Jesse Jackson.

The reality is that I too have heard this point of view uttered by other people. Although, I must admit I have never heard it mentioned by another Mexican.
Obviously, it lumps African-Americans and Mexicans to the bottom of the food chain. So, it definitely wasn't very flattering to say the least.

What I have observed is that many Mexicans will undertake jobs that are usually considered blue-collar. For instance, carpentry, carpet laying, etc. Most are very skillful and especially keen on finishing the job quickly.

In general most immigrants take advantage of so-called labor intensive jobs that most people would rather avoid. I suppose that would make most Americans lazy? Clearly I do not have all the answers.


BBC NEWS | Fox meets US civil rights leader

Blogging tutorial

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Stumbled upon a pretty good visual aid that describes the method and purpose behind the blogging phenomenon.

I believe the narrator is a Google employee. You will need Macromedia Flash Player to view. Check out Why Blog?

Eerie parallel

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Economic downturn coupled with the dotcom bubble burst, have ushered in a new frontier within Silicon Valley. Below is an article which makes an interesting parallel between the once great 'iron-belt' city Detroit and Silicon Valley.

The New York Times | New Economy: Is Silicon Valley Similar to Detroit?

Firefox - Redux

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More interesting firefox browser publicity campaigns. If you're still using that antiquated M$ browser, please consider switching.

Figured I would share another article with you.

Firefox video campaign storms the Web - ZDNet UK News

Make sure you check out the Funnyfox Web site promos, I am sure that you will get at least one giggle.

Rebuilding High Schools

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Interesting article regarding NYC public high school restructuring. As I reviewed the percentages of minorities, I did notice a sharp decline in African-Americans at my beloved BTHS. Very disturbing indeed. During my recent trip back to B'klyn Tech, I never got the opportunity to ask the current principal, Dr. Lee D. McCaskill, about this decline. Hopefully, I'll get an opportunity to do so in the near future.

High School Students (Gotham Gazette. April, 2005)

Bike Hunting

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Spent the better part of the morning talking to a very informed salesperson. Thus far I have visited two stores, Roll Models and Planet Cycle. It has been at least a decade since I owned a bicycle. Back in the days I used to ride a Fuji ten-speed. These days, it would be called a obsolete touring bike. I was totally amazed by the advancement in technology. Hand grip shifters, disc brakes, comfort mountain and hybrids. One constant remains, as every bike within my price point were manufactured in China. I am not at all surprised that all of the bikes made in the US, are priced at $600.00 and up. Not very competitive.

Broadcast flag shot down

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The evil broadcast flag was defeated last week. You may recall that I discussed this argument, in an earlier essay. No, the revolution will not be televised. You only learn about such matters in the blogosphere. So, don't expect Dan Rather to explain the details behind this huge victory.

What does this all mean? HDTV tuner card built after July 2005 are NOT required to be broadcast flag aware. So, you can record off-the-air terrestrial HDTV shows without threat of prosecution.

Cool huh..

Boing Boing: V-TV DAY: WE WON THE BROADCAST FLAG FIGHT!

AIDS genocide debate

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The AIDS conspiracy debate will forever be a much contested topic. I still remember the Strecker Memorandum, published by Dr. Robert B. Strecker. Strecker's thesis was predicated on the idea that AIDS was engineered to reduce the world population. Arguably, it has become painfully clear that government is very capable of such a diabolical caper. You need not look any further than the Tuskegee Experiment for the sobering truth and support for the conspiracy theorist.

Nonetheless, I'm not totally convinced that AIDS can be cured with multi-vitamins as suggested by the advert.


BBC NEWS- Aids 'genocide' advert condemned

RFID - Passports

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In an effort to bolster the homeland security, the US Gov't is set to pass into law the 'Real ID Act'.. Whereas, an electronic tracking device would be embedded, complete with personal information of the passport owner.

Walmart plans to use the same technology to track merchandise from the supply warehouse to its retail shelves.

joestump.net - Real ID Act

Evolution vs. Creationism

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The never ending debate has taken on epic proportions in the state of Kansas, as its school board struggles to change the definition of science in Kansas..

Because I consider myself to be a technologist, I have strong opinions on this topic. Feelings aside, I believe students should be permitted to use reasoning an critical thought to surmise a hypothesis. It is inappropriate for a school board to enforce their opionions on impressionable students. Who elected these people judge and jury? Please help me understand the morality behind this hard-line stance.

Morever, I always thought church and state were to forever remain separate for the good of humankind. Actually this story could set an ugly precedent, if the school board is permitted to go forward without being checked.

No this isn't Alice in Wonderland, and it certainly isn't the type of fairytale that I wish to see played out in my lifetime.

Blogcritics.org: Kansas school board endlessly debates evolution.

Best Hip-Hop albums Ever ?

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As part of Hip-Hop appreciation week, it appears that everyone is compiling their list of the best albums of all time.

I disagreed with the list that was published in the article. So I came up with my own, which is shown below.
There is a strong distinction between best meaning 'commercial' success and 'best' meaning most consequential to the Hip-Hop culture.

I speak of best only in terms of the impact the artist's work had on the culture.

Peep my list:

1 - Eric B & Rakim (Paid in Full)
2 - Wu Tang - (36 Chambers)
3 - BDP - ( Criminal Minded)
4- Biggie - (Ready to Die)
5- GZA - ( Liquid Swords)
6 - Gangstarr - (Hard to Earn)
7 - Nas - (Illmatic)
8 - Mos Def & Talib Kweli - (BlackStar)
9 - Tribe Called Quest - (Low End Theory)
10 - Dre & Snoop - (Chronic)


Best Hip-Hop Albums Ever

Justice or Just Us ?

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I am sure that by now many of you have heard the reports out of Florida, regarding the little girl who was handcuffed for poor behavior. I have seen the video and must say that I am baffled.
Clearly the child was misbehaving, but none of the five-year old's actions would indicate that she was a physical threat to the safety of the adult. I always thought that handcuffs were used to mitigate the ability of a dangerous criminal to do willful harm to another.

The teacher shown in the video, appears to be at least 200lbs. Why couldn't this adult female restrain a child that was one-tenth of her size? Judging from the video, it appears as though the woman was using the 'timeout' sign. Hell, I thought that only worked in basketball games.

I have no idea why the parents could not be reached, but I am sure that a lawsuit is justified.
How much force is too much? Florida residents, where is the outcry? Have you had enough of Jeb?

Marian's Blog: 3 Florida Police Handcuff A 5 Year Old [Black] Child- The Continued Criminalisation of Being Black

Podcasting

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Lately I have been considering starting an audio blog with RSS feeds. Some also refer to this phenomenon as podcasting. Essentially, it would supplement my existing text blog,but it could provide a more personal touch. You could actually hear me explain some of my rambling and assorted gibberish, rather than read it.

To accomplish this feat, I'll need to purchase a portable MP3 player/recorder. I suppose that I do have plenty of content to share, so I'll not run out stuff to discuss with you.

The only problem that I will most likely face, is finding the time to share my thoughts. I also do not have any idea how well the audio quality will sound to the audience.

It should be fun. We'll see.

Berkeley db defeated

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I have finally conquered the dreaded db known as Berkeleydb. Most of my experiences with db have been fraught with peril and uncertainty. In the past, I had used db for Evolution, the drop in Open Source replacement for M$ Outlook. If my memory serves me well, I seem to recall that db isn't backwards compatible. So each time the db developers upgrade their software, the previous version simply do not work as designed. I distinctly remember being told by GNOME developers, that I was to use db-3.17 and _only_ that version, as all others would not work correctly,.

More recently, I seem to have corrupted my blog database. It seems that I ran out of space on my server, so the db could not be properly parsed by the MT publishing engine. I received a couple duplicate entries and many 'serialized' errors after rebuilding my entries.

So, I decided to simply migrate the default db to the more robust mySQL. I won't go into the gory details here, but I did find alot of help by using the ubiquitous 'google' search. It appears that many other MT users have also experienced problems with db. Immediately following the migration, I noticed a tremendous performance boost in the rebuild process. I no longer receive timeouts etc.. No more serialize..pm errors either.

The question I have for Ben Trott et al at Six Apart is "Why use such a fragile db?". If the db isn't robust to adverse conditions (file locking, mismatch parsing errors, etc), it should not be the default database for the publishing engine. Why not use mySQL as the default?

Anyway, I'll stop my mild 'rant' here. I've slayed db dragon, and I am better for it. Now, I can begin to post entries more frequently, and make up for any lost time.

I'm back on the block like Quincy Jones.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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