- 10:57 @matt_dollinger #notagreatcareerchoice #
- 12:24 @madimus yes, absolutely #
- 17:49 We know we have to do it. But we don't want to do it. So we're gonna make you do it. Then we'll attack you for doing it. #wesuck #
The deal shaping up in Congress is really shattering in its political expediency over governance. Seems like pretty much everyone in Congress except the 1st Year Republican House members knows the Debt Ceiling needs to be raised and that it isn't really something to play chicken with. However, the leadership in the house seems unable to educate those representatives and provide enough information for those reps and their constituents enough to get them to vote to do it.
Instead it sounds like they are going to vote to authorize the President to raise the debt ceiling on his own - that there's a difference to this and voting to raise it themselves is something that is only political and not at all procedural. So they'll vote to cede the authority, knowing full well what the result will be - and then they'll vote to admonish the President for doing it.
Posted by David at 4:03 PM
I was going to put a West Wing video clip here, but the... Ooh wait, I lied, score one for the Blogsy app. Moving right along.
Let the record reflect that today I snapped at a US Senator. Al Franken tweeted something that he'd done that I am sure is great for all of us, but I couldn't be bothered to appreciate it. Instead I answered back:
dboevers @alfranken this is stupid right, but I don't really want to hear about anything besides how we're breaking the impasse until it's fixed
about 6 hours ago in reply to alfranken
Not my finest hour, and if by some unbelievable coincidence Senator Franken or anyone from his office stumbles across this post I'd like to apologize for losing my patience.
Can I tell you? I wanted the big deal. I would have celebrated Obama giving away entitlements if we'd seen some revenue enhancements. I don't totally hate the Reid plan (ok, I'm lying I totally hate it, but I can live with it). The Boener plan, wow. And the tea party plan? When they say prioritize do you think they know that what they are proposing leaves no money for anything?
Maybe they do.
Today I came to the end of my rope. I want the President to wheel around with a phaser rifle, break a window and yell at someone.
This far and no further. The "people" Republican freshmen so often cite are no people I know. The people I know think government is a place where people can come together to do great things. The people I know understand that this costs money, and the people I know think it is worth paying for. I don't think we should agree to plan that slowly raises the Medicare entry age, I think we should approve a plan that slowly lowers the Medicare entry age - maybe a year a year for 60 years.
It's true, government should be as small as it needs to be. But there are things we've seen that we do need and we should keep doing those things. And we should always be looking for other things we need. And when we find those things we shouldn't be so irresponsible as to not be realistic about paying for them.
Posted by David at 12:42 AM
You know when I said I thought we'd be done with the contractors this week? Not so much... I always used to say my precollege students were the most motivated of all my students... It's hot. Not Iraq hot, or Afghanistan hot... I've been making a list of conventions our faculty should attend but don't. I wonder if I should include Comic-Con? Might be fun... Bought even more AV cables this week. Soon I will be able to play anything on anything. Then they will make video wireless... Still not walking to work. I need to fix that... Monday we will start the build for our second show of the season. No, we haven't started the first show yet... Really, really need to pay bills... If the News of the World had brought down a crime syndicate or a dirty government with these phone hacks, would we be as upset? I probably wouldn't be... More and more often now when people call and ask "Do you have anyone?" the answer is a glass half full/glass half empty "no"... I had the thought today that the alumni associations of all the Pittsburgh colleges should have an "Alumni Olympics" to build the community. Then I remembered that Pitt would kick our ass... Today we got storm doors and bathroom back-splash grout... It's been pretty hard to keep up the writing here. Gonna have to come up with a strategy... A bunch of my students apparently have tumblr feeds, just what I need: more in my RSS... Turns out you can't use the WatchESPN or the CNN live video stream if your video provider is DirectTV. Unfortunate... Too bad about the Women's World Cup. Would have been nice to be the champs again... Today I decided one of the fights wasn't worth fighting anymore. It's a shame when people decide that winning is more important than their own best interest... Tomorrow's Friday Precollege Workshop is "Applying to College." I wonder what I am going to tell them... Rush thinks the "real feel" thing is a government conspiracy. That's what comes from always being in air conditioning... For a minute there it looked like the NFL thing was going to be settled, oh, and the debt ceiling thing too... This house by the way. Ridiculous... We added "Alphas" and "Falling Skies" to the DVR but haven't watched anything. With the summer schedule the way it is, we could record on Monday and be done for the week, except a lot of what I really like isn't on Monday... If you are keeping score I still haven't read that book I've been carrying around. Maybe before work starts... Still no new Google Toolbar for Firefox... I've got a good feeling about Captain America, but we're way behind, Still haven't seen HP, Super8, Horrible Bosses, Cars 2, Bad Teacher, Larry Crowne, Green Lantern, First Class, On Stranger Tides - maybe we'll do a movie a day, two week staycation...
I used to chat a lot. Every machine I have has AIM loaded on it and has it in the startup so that it boots right there every time I turn on a machine. I went from AOL to AIM when I dropped AOL. I've had Trillian and Pidgin. Recently I added my Facebook friends to my AIM installation and thought that would mean WAY more chatting. But it hasn't. There's so little chatting now I've thought a whole lot about uninstalling the applications. I've long thought that the AIM app was a tiny little boat anchor slowing down everything else I do. I probably won't do anything so drastic. But I do wonder where all the chatting went.
I've read online that chat's been replaced with SMS and Skype. I guess that's possible. People are way more savvy with their cell phones, and the cell phones have much easier text entry. Maybe a lot of what was chat is now SMS. I guess the same goes for Skype. Why would you sit at your computer and type when you could sit at your computer and talk; or even talk with video. AIM had audio and video a long time ago but I think it was software ahead of the hardware curve. For some reason I never used it. But really there's another thing here. SMS and Skype aren't the same as chat. Chat is a different mode. For one thing, you sort of have to put yourself out as being available for chat. SMS is as intrusive as a phone call - well maybe only as intrusive if you expect to converse. If you're just shooting out a message SMS is *perfect* but for talking... pretty much the same as a phone call. Skype is different too. Maybe I'd feel different if I were a regular user, but I don't get the feeling you just leave a Skype connection open when you are doing other things. Chat was sort of the ultimate side conversation. Really I am surfing or playing a game or working, but while I am there's this slow running continuous conversation going on.
Maybe it's that the people I chat with have become busy. Chat does have the handicap of having to be sitting at the computer. Years ago I would sit at this screen for many more hours than I do now. Many of my friends have had kids or changed their work or job situation. Those are all things that would take people out from in front of their screens. I shouldn't begrudge them their quality of life just because it cut down on my socializing.
Could be it is about screens. With my phone and my tablet I don't get in front of my computer all that much anymore. I can even blog fairly well from the tablet. I tend to not run AIM from either of those devices. I'm not sure why - ok really the reason why lately is that there's so much less chat. Why would I? Could be that it's the same for other folks.
I've been looking at the "hangout" thing on Google+. It seems to me that maybe that's the heir to chat. I could see just leaving that open. Although the video dimension of the thing is certainly a game changer.
It's probably not a bad thing that chatting has dropped off. It was in all likelihood distracting and I can say for sure that my Pacific timezone buddies often kept me up much later than is healthy for me (good thing I don't have buddies in Hawaii). Still, I miss the interaction and the ability to keep up with what people are doing and what they're thinking in real time. Facebook really isn't a substitute, even if they are the new AOL.
Posted by David at 8:50 PM
The city of Pittsburgh, like many other cities is in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis. It's possible that's too strong a word as the response doesn't appear overwhelming to someone not part of the process, and if it is a crisis it's a fairly long crisis. In any case, they're taking a real close look at revenue streams and one that gets a lot of talk is parking.
Not to long ago the city parking authority upped the rates in some of the busier neighborhoods and concurrently lengthened the hours drivers would have to feed the meters. Most of the time when you park you are dealing with individual coin-op meters, but a few of the city lots now have the central ticket printers that take paper money and credit cards. I was just reading an article that said the mayor wanted to replace a bunch of the older style meters with more of the ticket printer types. This initiative was getting a cold reception from the city council because changing the gear also apparently meant raising the rates again.
Interestingly the reason for the rate increase wasn't so much paying for the new gear or installation as to cover lost revenue from credit card transactions. When someone parking uses their credit card instead of paying cash a potion of the payment goes to the company handling the transaction as opposed to going to the city in full.
This got me thinking. It's possible we missed something in the recent credit card reform effort.
It seems to me that in the case of a public transaction that maybe the card company shouldn't be permitted to take a fee. Perhaps as a condition of their being permitted to do this type of business they should be required to handle municipal payments for free. This can't really be too significant a potion of their total revenue. Not to say they wouldn't miss the money, but it doesn't seem too unfair a idea to me.
In fact, I think I'd expand the notion and say that any civic transaction at all: local, county, state, or federal out to be handled as a public service by the transaction companies. And while I'm reaching I'll go one better and say any charitable transaction or transaction with a not-for-profit entity should also fall into this category.
No more dollar loses on charged tickets for not for profit theaters. My mother would have rejoiced.
I guess there would be a cry of "something for nothing" here. Maybe it is too much to expect getting this for absolutely zero. There are quantifiable costs to the vendors for facilitating these transactions. The recent legislation capped the allowable swipe fee for all transactions. Maybe we could allow a slightly higher swipe fee for regular transactions in exchange for no fee on civic and charitable transactions. Or, maybe we could allow a dollar for dollar write off of the money they would have made on these transactions but didn't as a business loss.
Running it over in my mind I think it's ultimately doable, and the cities could sure use the money (to say nothing about how little any of us wants to see parking rates go up again).
Posted by David at 12:41 AM
Apple cables are expensive. We've been setting up our A/V here at the new Chez TANBI and the tablets are a new dimension. We have fairly new TVs in two rooms, one's that will take VGA directly or HDMI input, and another older TV that does S, Composite, or Component video. What with Netflix and HBOGO on the tablets it seemed like a good idea to get the cables needed to make things talk to each other.
We already had a VGA adaptor cable. We'd been using it on the bedroom tv in the old place. I wasn't 100% happy with that though, so for the new instance I got an HDMI adapter. Good thing I already had some HDMI cables around (and that I'd spent considerable time sorting cables over the weekend). Wouldn't want to have to buy a cable on top of the near $40 for the adapter. It's a nice compact thing though and does have a USB split off of it so that you can plug in the power while you're using it. That's something I was thinking would be a good idea with the VGA adapter I already had (which doesn't have that capability).
For the old set I got a composite cable/adapter. It was also on near $40. I'm telling myself that there's some electronics in the thing and not just pin switching. Otherwise the Apple folks have been taking lessons from the Monster Cable folk. This cable also has the power split, although if I leave it set up like I think I will I might wind up needing another wall wart for it.
Here's the kicker though. Both arrangements work swell. I even managed to get one of the sets to resize the thing to the screen in a way I hadn't been able to before (in the original setup the picture was sort of narrow and off center and I could never find the right control). The rub? HBOGO disables the external viewing option. So if you want to watch that library you have to do it on the screen on the tablet.
I think this is a little odd as you can use an external monitor for a laptop when doing HBOGO from the web. Its just the apps on the mobile device that has the restriction. We surmise it's because they don't want you taking your 3G mobile device to someone else's home, where there is no HBO, and watching their content on a real screen.
But then there is 3G internet for laptops too, so that's not a great reason.
So a little bit this renders the cable on the old TV moot because we had the capability to stream Netflix through the Wii already. The interface is a little better on the tablet, so we get that, and there's anything else we might want to get on a big screen: photo slideshows and the like.
But no HBOGO.
Makes an already expensive cable seem even more expensive.
Anyone recognize this cable:
It sort of looks like 1/8" Stereo to VGA.
I uncovered it in a fit of organization today while trying to unpack my office. I also found a school of orphan wall warts and several phone chargers for Motorola Razrs. Also about a mile of coax and maybe two miles of telephone cable.
The worst part (alright not worst so much really, just sort of "and even more") is that I am sure there are at least two more boxes of obsolete gear and cable remaining.
Too much fun.
Posted by David at 11:06 PM
Posted by David at 9:01 PM
This morning I watched the last launch of a NASA Space Shuttle on a live stream online. I guess it says something about the longevity of the program that at the time it started there was no streaming or world wide web, and the computer I had on my desk at home had 32K of memory - and that was a lot.
I remember doing a research project for my high school speech class on the shuttle. I can't remember what was in the report, but I remember doing it. There were always lots of euphemisms for the vehicle: "Space Truck" and "Rock with wings" are the two that stick with me. In the movie "Space Cowboys" they called it "Flying Brick." it always seemed an interesting comparison to me, what was happening in the movies of the time versus what was happening in the world. On the one hand you watch the Millennium Falcon blast out of Mos Eisley with no notice and on the other you have a week long countdown with holds and delays and likely as many scrubs as launches.
Like with the Regan shooting I remember vividly the day we lost the first shuttle, first hearing through the grapevine and then rooting around the school building to find a television to see. Now I'd get a tweet and then look for video on my phone.
Turns out later I'd wind up with a connection to that day, not an overwhelmingly strong connection, but a connection. Judith Resnik was a CMU alum. There's a memorial to her here on campus in the Science Mall, and they named a dorm after her.
My recollection of the second tragedy is cloudier. I guess that's a testament to things just becoming more expected. Today's mission is STS-135. Would you have guessed there were that many? I might have said over 100, but maybe not. There's another interesting tension looking at how run of the mill it seems but also at how big an effort it still is.
I was upset when I heard they were ending the shuttle program. Just another in a string of disappointments from Challenger, to unit confusion, to Dan Quayle running the program. Really couldn't believe they'd let the transport program end with no replacement while the ISS still had life to it. Just a general bummer.
This past week I've heard a lot of NASA folks spinning the end of the program. The story says that the resources required to run the shuttles keeps any other program from taking off. While my preference would be to plus up the budget to be able to run both the old programs and new ones I guess it does make sense to try to get the low Earth orbit stuff into the private sector and get back to exploration.
Here's hoping the next news from NASA is something exciting and new.
Posted by David at 3:01 PM
I read today that only 25% of high school kids of working age get jobs these days. The article tries to finger the reason this has been happening. They start with the notion that the evil Democratic Congress when they weren't stumping for socialized medicine upped the minimum wage and so employers can't afford to hire kids anymore. They debunk that pretty quickly saying that previous rises in minimum wage haven't cut youth employment; also that employers don't have to pay minimum wage if the employee is going to work less that 90 days (did you know that? Me either.)
The next supposition is that while not working more and more kids are doing internships or going to summer school. This is theoretically about today's helicopter parents and getting high school kids ready for college. A little bit I'm dubious of this as I'm uncertain all that many kids are going to college.
I could be wrong.
I worked a lot of summer jobs. That isn't to say I didn't go to summer school as well. Another reason that second reason sounds odd to me is that summer employment and summer school aren't mutually exclusive. I worked one summer at a day camp. I cleaned the picnic area every day (and to my Mom's chagrin ate hot dogs for lunch every day). I think I might have been underage in that gig. I seem to recall having to get a work permit.
I worked at least two summers at K-Mart. I worked the floor of the toy department and also some in the outdoor patio. Somewhere I still have patio employee t-shirts that say "may I help you?" on the back. It's amazing how many 50# bags of topsoil you can get into the trunk of a car.
Also there was a bunch of theatre. I did the tech for the drama camp for the Deerfield Park District, building scenery and then running lights and follow spot for the shows. I also built scenery and ran shows for the Wilmette Park District's Starlight Theatre.
The thing that sticks me about this article is that if parents are steering their kids away from work to do more education it's possible their base assumption might be flawed. I mean, I know that school is a positive experience, but some of what we look for in kids we think will succeed in college is some kind of experience away from school. Working a job gets you all kinds of useful experiences. For many folks this is their first introduction to "regular people" and functioning while working with regular people is a real skill. Showing up for work is somewhat different than showing up for school. Taking responsibility for work is different than taking responsibility for schoolwork. Following a bosses instructions is very different than following a teacher or a coaches instructions.
I guess it is possible for parents to think that these real life skills aren't as important, or that there's plenty of time down the line to learn such things and maybe they're right. But the life skills from working a job might go further to adding to someone's maturity rather than even more school.
Posted by David at 10:08 PM
I think when I was growing up, under the congressional administration of Tip O'Neil there was a legislative precedent that held far more weight than it does today. It was the notion that "what goes around comes around." I just figure they had all been there so long they understood that if you play games with the process when you are in one position that the other side will do the same thing or worse when the positions are reversed. I think this stood us in good stead for a long time keeping either side from straying too far from the middle or doing anything too crazy.
Lately this seems to be falling apart some. There seems to be far more filibustering in the Senate. Getting any Presidential appointments confirmed has become harder with each administration. And now we have the latest bout over using the national debt ceiling as a bludgeon to get through legislative ideas that wouldn't see the light of day otherwise.
I guess some of the ideas if crafted properly and without the threat of imminent danger might not be too bad. I can see how a reasonably constructed balanced budget initiative might have legs. But what I can't understand is how nobody seems to have the perspective to see how someday the tables might be reversed and instead of righties digging in and wanting their brand of fiscal responsibility instituted it could just as easily be lefties slinging some of their favorite ideas. Some of which have been occurring to me today.
How's this for some lefty leverage (when the tables are turned):
So the house is to what might be called "substantial completion." I've been bumming a little bit that the move overlapped the end of the build out so we have no photos of the house both finished and empty. But only a little bit. I'll trade those hypothetical photos for being moved in for sure.
This weekend we started to share the projects with people aside from ourselves and the builders.
I wasn't quick enough with the camera, but the very first child through the door jumped up to grab the stair treads and swing back and forth. While he was doing that another child ran up to the landing and peered out through the railing proclaiming "look, I'm in jail" at which point the first child lost his grip and did a very noisy faceplant on the very hard hardwood floor. There were a few tears and then he thought it was as funny as I did.
Today I assembled our mail order patio set and we did a little "open grill.". At one point we had nine people hanging out in the kitchen. I don't think that would have been possible in the old house. The back yard handled the event very well, we managed to not melt the siding like the previous owners. The traffic on the street out front, so obvious if you are in front of the house made little or no impact behind - and even the neighbor's yippy dog wasn't all that obtrusive.
So far the only entertaining downside in the home has been bugs, fruit flies. Not sure if they've been there all along or if they rode in on the CSA, or if they came in when we started with food; but with doors being open with screens and some windows the same we've had to do some extra insect clean up on each occasion. My prediction is that will end when the storm doors are installed.
Anyway, so far it's a good house.
Posted by David at 11:15 PM