June 2009 Archives

Un-natural Selection

Everyone will eventually be given an opportunity to perform jury duty. Actually, I never had never served until recently, as I typically was exempt due to active military. Nonetheless, the past two years I have been sent notices twice. Perhaps this is because of the dwindling population in Detroit? Who knows. My first experience was a more pleasant one since I was dismissed, the first set of jurors seated were interested in serving and the defense and prosecution were happy to have them.

My more recent encounter was much less enjoyable. There were approximately 42 prospective jurors, and I witnessed some poor but hysterical excuses people used to get themselves excused or disqualified from service. Some faked mental illness others simply said that they didn't care to participate. I suppose that I should have behaved in a belligerent fashion, jammed some gold fronts in my grill or bopped to my juror seat. Some people were even threatened with contempt of court, but it did not matter to them. They just wanted out. Perhaps the more interesting development was watching the gamesmanship of the prosecution and defense attorneys.

Both of them tried their best to stack the jury in a way which was most favorable to their clients. So while there were nearly four sets of 14 prospective jurors, at least four were dismissed by the defense or prosecution. In fact, after the dust had settled no alternates were available in the gallery. So, they agreed to seat just 13 jurors. Interesting indeed.

Judging from the first days of the trial, we may very well have 12 angry jurors. Appears to be too much teaching going on. Scarcely, have gone through all of the witnesses.

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In Search of the Linux Smartphone

the Neo 1973, the first smartphone using the O...

Image via Wikipedia

As I monitor the blogosphere for feedback on the just released Palm Pre. The results certainly have not been overwhelming. In truth, if Palm is unable to execute this product launch in a successful fashion, it would likely be there last opportunity to reclaim relevance in the smartphone market. I have always enjoyed the PalmOS, as it seemed that they had captured the mindshare of many developers. In fact, Palm founder Jeff Hawkins once stated that Palm purposely wanted their devices to be hackable with the hope that more developers would write applications for their devices.

However, with the recent launch of the Pre, some people have indicated that acquiring the SDK has not been seemless. Regarding relevancy in the smartphone market, there really is much room for the growth in this space, as there are only a few serious players, ie (Nokia, Apple, and RIMM). I didn't mention M$ because AFAIK, they do not make hardware for smartphones. Obviously, they do have a small share of the software stack for smartphone market. Clearly, Hawkins understands the urgency, so he hired two ex-Cupertino executives. Jon Rubenstein is credited with product creation effort for the iPod. In fact, he recently replaced long standing Palm CEO, Ed Colligan.

In truth, the majority of people who use cell phones are still tethered to the flip-flop style phones. Smartphones are still relative new comer and have a much higher cost of ownership. I purchased my unlocked Treo 650 on e-Bay roughly 4yrs ago for $225.00.
Since I have been using GSM/GPRS based phone, I have sworn never to go back to CDMA. I like the idea of a SIM card and the ability to have a functioning device in several countries.
Obviously, I do find the Pre's WebOS quite intriguing as it is running a Linux kernel.
According to other hackers, there is a bit of USB device driver slight of hand taking place, which permits functionality with iTunes. None of this matters to me, as I will never use iTunes, but I clearly understand that with Linux and open standards all things are possible.

There are other Linux based smartphones in production and on the horizon. Perhaps the most notable is the Neo FreeRunner, which is powered by the OpenMoko project. Unfortunately, there were several early manufacturing snafus and it appears that they have a glutton of inventory that they can not exhaust. IMHO the project still has a great deal of promise and contrary to popular belief, there is significant interest in a totally open smartphone platform. OpenMoko is essentially providing you the building materials to create your smartphone stack. The hardware is open, and of course the software is too. You can run any software image of your choosing. This is much more than the GOOG G1 is willing to offer. Although, Android is essentially a Java-based SDK it runs atop of Linux kernel. However, GOOG has attempted to appease T-Mobile by not allowing folks to gain root access. Nonetheless, if you probe deep enough, I would imagine that gaining root access is a trivial exercise. It is possible that Android will win out only because they have the tremendous GOOG capital warchest, and not due to any technical merit. This space does bear watching. Indeed it is a battle for the pocket and not the desktop. Linux can run everywhere and anywhere at any time.

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Styles - Site renovations

Anil Toasts MT

Image by Jamison via Flickr

I've finally refreshed all of the system templates. Essentially updated the old MT 3.x to MT 4.x system templates. Some of you have correctly pointed out that several (if not all) of my archive files had been broken for quite awhile. The truth is that I am not a styles whore, that is I do not find building CSS very interesting. Nor do I care much for themes. I'm an engineer who is more interested in the data and facts. In fact, if I could simply serve up a site that could happily be rendered by a lynx browser I would be happy indeed.

Theming and all that shyt never tickled my fancy, probably because it takes more time than I have at the moment. Publishing platform not withstanding, I tend not to care much about style points. I never blogged because I wanted to share pretty images with you ;-)

Nonetheless, I now have rebuilt the templates and dirify all previous entries.
Soon, I will also institute re-Captcha to address the random but annoying spambots. A number of very cool plugins now help me power the MT 4.x site. My diabolical plan is to "take back" all of my content which is strewn about the global interweb. Active Streams happens to be another very powerful tool that Six-Apart has unfurled and included for all movabletype properties.

After I have "re-claimed" my content, you'll begin to see most of integrated on the blog. Sorta like a one-stop shop for my social networks. After all this was how it was designed to be. I built my social network from the blog, as most of these other so-called web2.0 sites didn't exist when I began blogging in '03.

As time permits, I will continue to make the site more readable primarily for the odd occasion when people actually abandon their feed reader and scan the page outside of the RSS client. Perhaps, I'll even get adventurous and grab a different 3-column theme. These days, I did grow tired of the dark theme that I've had forever.

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Penny-Less Prosperity Redux

These three assholes just get more and more pa...

Image by Roscoe Van Damme via Flickr

*Disclaimer* - The thoughts expressed here do not represent those of my employer
Some of asked me about my opinion regarding some unprecedented times in the auto industry. Both Chrysler and GM have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past 2 months. Clearly, the North American market and manufacturing base is undergoing drastic changes.
There is a substantial amount of acrimony surrounding the tough love stance the US government leadership has delivered to the industry. Perhaps at the eye of the storm are the deep haircuts the bond holders have taken and the scorched earth policy which will significantly reduce the number of auto dealerships.

As mentioned previously in this space, I often watch C-Span in an effort to gain a different perspective. Typically their coverage is not your average talking head. What I have found most interesting is the special hour for the Republican Party. Many of these representatives attacked President Obama for the so-called spending spree. There was also talk of 'gangsta' politics. In that, the gov't just bumrushed dealerships and shut them down for no reason.

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New Yankee Stadium Musings

Fair pole

Originally uploaded by AG_

I had the pleasure of visiting the new stadium for the Interleague matchup Yanks vs. Phils. Memorial Day festivities abound, I was also treated to umbrella at the ballbark. Though it was a great game, the Bx Bombers fell in extra innings 4-3.

The impressive array of Cisco networked LCD monitors caught my eye immediately. However, the severe latency problems also were quite remarkable. It almost reminded me of watching Kung-Fu theatre, as the audio lagged the video. I wonder what sort of video codecs they're using? Moreover, what sort of network pipe is Cisco using to push the data to probably 10K LCD monitors around the stadium.

Onto the less exciting stuff, the concession stands were plentiful and accessible at every deck. In fact, I didn't have to wait more than 10min for my nacho supreme - $9 ouch.. Once curious oddity was the you couldn't order pizza in nachos line. Basically, the food spread about the entire stadium, no consolidation here. Luckily, I pay for nathan at the ballpark. Err should I say , I don't pay for much.
Needless, to say I was not running all over the place to order food.

I got my mugshot snapped prolly twice by headz working for the Yankees Photo Program. Heh, perhaps they wanted to get some flava for their digital photo album. I was in the bldg for real ;-)

Though we arrived roughly 1.5 hrs before first pitch, I still did not see Monument Park. It seems they stop tours about 2hrs before game time. Try as I might, the new stadium has a very different feel than the other spot on 161St. Something about the old stadium. I miss the acclaimed facades that nearly encapsulated the upper deck. The new stadium seems to have toned it down significantly.

There was only on homer hit in the ballgame and it came off the bat of 1B big Tex.

My thoughts of Bombers 0-8 futility against the Bosox (thus far in 2009 season) will be forthcoming.

links for 2009-06-12

links for 2009-06-10

Bumpy Knuckles

Heh, Nuff respect to Freddie Foxxx.. I've not written much about anything lately, so I figured I would mention that I am still training. I will also love TSD. In fact, I am re-building the school webpage using Drupal - Sorry Anil. Anyway, I probably should begin by stating that I missed my first seminar in nearly 3.5yrs. These intense classes are conducted twice a year, typically March and October. Actually, I was participating in the Phil Sea Plankowner Reunion, so I was unable to attend. Unfortunately, I had heard that only 15 students were in attendance. Somehow that seems like very small class size. Perhaps the smallest ever. Though, I have no particular statistics to back up my fear, I wonder if this down economy really played serious havoc on the would be attendees. Nonetheless, I still called GM Kim and express my apologies for not being able participate.

Now, to the point of this entry ;-) During each seminar GM Kim always talks about had conditioning. We actually spend some time smacking our hands on concrete covered carpet. In class and at home I use a mawari board. The purpose of the board is to toughen the skin on the knuckles, so that it is least likely for your hands to become a bloody mess when striking objects. Our Federation President stresses tough hands. In fact, calloused knuckles are the trademarks for long practicing martial artists.

I've always said martial arts can be a humbling experience. Rebuilding of oneself, through the act of starting over. During my nearly 10yrs of training, I have only come across seemingly unbreakable boards twice. Once as a young, inexperienced 6th Gup. Who was asked to break two boards with a step over sidekick (yap chagi). More recently, I met a similar fate when trying to break an unusually knotty pine. This singular board was supposed to broken by another very young student testing for 2nd Gup. He was not able to break the board, and would have likely cried if he was asked to continue. Naturally, I figured it bad karma not to destroy that board. After the testing, I struck with three middle punches. It did seem that my fist bounced off each time. Very humbling indeed. I wanted to strike it again with pal koop (elbow attack), but I was told to leave it alone. There would be better days ahead.

A few abrasions and a swollen second knuckle was my prize for poor technique and perhaps weak spirit. My instructor told me that I will get my chance soon enough. I didn't feel so bad, as I had witnessed senior dan members fist explode on boards during Dan testing. Yes, I was incredulous when it happened to me. *Sigh* I live another day and long for another opportunities to fatten my knuckles.

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