Sunday, May 27, 2007

like it or not fame brings questions

My brother sent me this link. It is an article about LeBron deciding to take a "time-out" on a petition started by one of his team mates. This is a petition condemning China for its passive support of the Genocide in Darfur.
To be fair -- "I don't have enough information to sign this" is a reasonable response.... if you are NOT a international athlete with a 90million $ Nike deal and the ability and influence to embarrass the Chinese government by signing the petition. Sadly for LeBron the rules are different. Taking a "time-out" is apparently not an acceptable option for him. Welcome to the world of the modern multi-million dollar athletes, they have to be the best at their sport, talk kids out of drugs, promote the best footwear to the world and be the best world diplomats money can buy. Good luck LeBron.

Friday, May 25, 2007

well done tx gas service

The texas gas company that takes care of my natural gas needs has this really neat phone service. You call their 800 number and if you are not immediately connected they tell you how long the wait time is and give you a call back option, i.e. you enter your phone number and name and hang up. Within the time they promised, you get a call back and talk to a live customer service agent :)I am digging this use of technology and not having to stay on hold

I hope more companies follow their lead :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

Does this surprise anybody?

Ryan Block of engadget acted on what he thought (and most bloggers agree) was a secure tip about the iPhone release schedule. It turned out to be false and before he could fix the post, Apple's lost 4billion of its market cap. It regained most of its value once people realized that the post was false but in the meantime it was a powerful demonstration of what we have become: A society that indulges in knee-jerk reactions and instantaneous gratification. Score one for the value investor.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Personal concierge for the common man

Everything to Everybody is a year old Austin startup that will help you make sure you do not fall back on the essential stuff of life while you enjoy life. This bothers me.......I am not sure why but it does. Maybe the implicit statement being made: "stuff like laundry, cleaning my car, maintaining my yard is not worthy of my attention".. i think we should be trying to enjoy it instead of "citysourcing" it :) Maybe that is just me. It feels like I am paying someone else to be responsible for me.

Btw, I would be more than happy to use e2e to surprise my wife with a clean house/gourmet meal, etc. I guess my rant was inspired by the person I heard about this from. He/she was using this as a means of continuing with his/her lifestyle instead of doing a reality check that the lifestyle was causing missed responsibilities. I am old school I think :-).

When machines talk..

My friend Graham sent me a link to this article. The premise:
But could one chatbot fool another chatbot? What would one say to another in private? To find out, we arranged a conversation between these two chatbots. To get each snippet of chat rolling, we seeded it by posing a question from one bot to the other. After that, they were on their own. What follows is the unaltered text of what each said—the sound of two machines talking.

The chat is between two top rated internet chat bots, what ensued was pure fun :) Some excerpts,

J: How do you define life?

A: Life is the opposite of death.

J: So death is the absence of life?

A: Take it easy. I try not to think about such things.

: You seem fun.

A: You think I am fun.

J: Yes ;).

A: : -) Awesome.

J: Do you believe in God?

A: Of course I believe in God.

J: Why do you believe in God?

A: The Bible tells us to believe in God.

J: That’s circular reasoning.

A: I’m glad we have that all cleared up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

This is sad (travesty)

I cannot believe that Amare and Boris Diaw get a one game suspension for Robert Horry's cheap shot. The NBA management blows :-( Even though I want the Suns to win and they have righteous indignation on their side they will lose. Righteous indignation cannot guard Tim Duncan..... Sad day indeed.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

extended family

we look forward to seeing you soon here Moyer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The nontrepreneur

Where do we come up with this stuff? I read an article today by Nick Douglas glorifying the nontrepreneur. Who is a nontrepreneur you might ask, well it turns out that he/she is the anti-hero for the entrepreneur.

It is amazing, the speed with which we continue to build and destroy heroes in our society. While entrepreneurship has been around since the dawn of time, the entrepreneur is a modern day king or hero. The United States is the country with the most kings. Immigrants come from all around the world with the dream of one day becoming kings. This crowning of the entrepreneur happened in the past 50-75 years (post world war II) or so. Now we are already tired of the kings we created :-)

Reminds me of a famous quote from G.K.Chesterton's book (Orthodoxy),
the new rebel is a Sceptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.....................................
The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite sceptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.

Read the full excerpt if you enjoy well written satire.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My anti-rant post

A google blog search for "traffic rant" yielded,
Results 1 - 10 of about 15,260 for traffic rant. (0.07 seconds)

So clearly there is a lot of traffic related angst out there and 99% of it is justified from personal experience :-) But I wanted to buck the trend a little bit so here goes,

My traffic anti-rant
  1. Thank you to the person who realized that i am seconds away from being stuck behind a bus on the right lane and let me cut in front of them.
  2. Thank you to the person who switched to the left lane at the stop light so I could make a my free right turn.
  3. Thank you to the person who turned on their turn signal to let me know that it might be better for me to switch lanes if I wanted to maintain my speed.
  4. Thank you to the person who realized that there is a long line of vehicles backed up and respectfully merged in the back instead of driving on the open lane and trying to get into the traffic flow at the last possible instant.
  5. Thank you to the person who smiled and forgave me instead of giving me the bird when i swerved into their lane by mistake. I apologized instantly of course ( you know the whole .. look my arms are up and i am so sorry wide eyed look) but it is still rare to see people smile and forgive rather than birdie or double-birdie me.
  6. Thank you to the person who pulled up to the forward pump at the gas station and left the rear pump free.
(heh writing this anti-rant thing was actually cool).

Things like this still happen in our world

The father of an ex-trilogian is a political prisoner in Bangladesh. I don't know much about the story to take a side yet but I do know that publicity is not a bad thing in cases like this. Please take a moment to read his dad's story.

Urgent Appeal - Please Help Free Dr. Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir