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Ah, My Home State…

March 11, 2014

I have few words

Sgt. Pete Simpson, a Portland Police Bureau spokesman, said officers responded to a 911 call that evening from a couple who had locked themselves in their bedroom with the baby and their dog after the cat attacked the child.

Simpson said the 911 operator could hear the cat screeching in the background as the couple awaited help.

Said cat allegedly, “has a history of violence.”

I… um… well…

Oh what the heck. Make it an even 600

March 2, 2014

Guys, guys, Big Bang Theory is amusing because Sheldon knows better than to TRY to be a rock star.

Please, for the love of pete, stop! It’s embarrassing

http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/tech-billionaires-behaving-badly/story-e6frfmd9-1226723450393

And stuff like this article just needs to not be said. Think of the human tendency to visualize and operate as if you ARE this successful before you GET that successful. Then read this

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230965

101 in the Valley is just going to get more and more fun to drive….

Clash of the repressed

March 2, 2014

In a facebook discussion I commented on once about the different views of what “tolerance” means, I received a tirade of First world PC blather in response to a comment I made about nations like Singapore and other Sharia law states not really caring about what the West thinks when it comes to the rights of alternative lifestyle proponents.
The response I received was “hey dumb-a–, that’s FOREIGN policy. This is DOMESTIC policy”

This article came out over the weekend. Read it in full
Gay Activists have met their match in Muslim Barbers

Now, when you put THAT in light of this link:
Obama Administration Welcomes Escaping Muslims

It’s going to be interesting to pop the popcorn and just watch it play out. My point to the FB commenter was simply “when you combine amnesty, open door immigration and multi-culturalism, how do you know your particular western world view wins in DOMESTIC policy?”

Personally, people fleeing oppression should have a safe place to refuge – whoever they are. But the Canada example shows that there are some very key areas where the culture conflict gets really pronounced. Given so many in the media/Hollywood are terrified to insult Islam relative to Christianity… I’m really not clear how this plays out in the end in this country.

In the Heat of Business

February 27, 2014

I don’t have a dog in the hunt on the Arizona bill deal.  Sure, it’s pretty much over now that Gov. Brewer vetoed the bill anyway.  That said, there was something I caught last night that I thought was funny.  Late in the game yesterday, sources started to whisper that the NFL was starting to look at options for moving the Super Bowl if the bill passed.

Host Committee CEO Jay Parry had said the organization went straight to Brewer’s office to express its concern and disagreement over Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed Arizonans the ability to cite religious beliefs as a reason to deny services to anybody…

…”We are looking for the governor to veto,” Parry told ESPN.com earlier in the day. “We have confidence in the governor representing our state. We’ve shared our concerns with the governor’s office directly. So, we just wait and see.”

The bill, in part, was put in place to prevent just this thing from happening.  We can all question the motives of the supporters, and of the non-supporters.  But the real heart of the bill was around people or organizations not being able to pressure other people or organizations who had different viewpoints.  The NFL, and its Host Committee extension, did precisely that in coercing the governor to veto the bill.

Now, I’m expecting that most of this was self-protection.  A very visible organization like the NFL would have been toast when caught between protest groups and the state, and would have been forced to avoid the PR nightmare that would go around this.  But the effort was pretty ham-handed.

I’m obviously not one to ask, since I’m pretty black and white about my opinions.  But were I in power in Arizona right now, I’d be sorely tempted to tell the NFL that the Super Bowl in Arizona is off for now, and they can go figure out some other opportunity.  I get the lost business opportunity, but I also get coercion, and the next time is going to be even more blatant.

For now, Arizona is stuck in a weird limbo while the various players decide next moves.  I don’t think this is done by a long shot.

Branding, Customer, or Both?

February 19, 2014

I was wondering when some company would do this:

HTC is offering users free fixes for cracked screens on the company’s new handset models.

The company said that all HTC One, One Max and One Mini customers in the US who purchase their device on or after February 18 will be eligible to receive one free repair from the company on cracked screens in the first six months of ownership.

I was incredibly late to the smart phone world, in part because I’d see friends with screens that were unviewable, or people who had to put the thing in an armored case because, “the last one broke.”  And stories about voiding warranties when you had to replace a screen are rampant.

HTC has a nice niche here.  They can make sure that customers who are a bit accident prone are predisposed to try them out.  And it’s also a nice branding story as well, since a lot less cracked screens will be out there to make people negatively view the brand.  I call this a good idea, and way past its time.

And time will tell if others jump on this.  Let me predict that Apple will go last into the breech.

Inherent Insecurtiy

February 13, 2014

There’s a somewhat famous saying in tech support: “Your problem is in between the computer and the chair.”

There’s a similar problem in security, and it’s one that can confound even the most secure of systems deployments.  You can spend millions on your systems deployment, and then be defeated by one guy not following policy.

The unclassified memo, which was sent to both  the congressional intelligence and judiciary committees on February 10, states  that Snowden once asked the person to log into their account on Snowden’s  computer.

‘Unbeknownst to the civilian, Mr Snowden was  able to capture the password, allowing him even greater access to classified  information,’ the memo states according to NBC.

This new report comes in contrast to what  Snowden and some of his other former colleagues have described.

Snowden, whose days are numbered under his  temporary asylum status in Russia, previously claimed that he never deceived  colleagues or used their passwords without them knowing.

Most people couldn’t tell you the ins and outs of their company’s security policy.  I’m sure the NSA’s is a bit more rigid than others.  But really, these types of policies exist precisely to stop internal espionage.  I can understand why the person above had his security clearance revoked (and subsequently resigned).

Mr. Snowden has severely damaged our US cyber security and cyber warfare capability.  It seems to me the equivalent of grounding half of the US Air Force and expecting the force to continue its mission unabated.  It mostly appears that the damage was self-inflicted, though… like convincing the Air Force to switch to unleaded.

The Counterintuitive Fact

February 12, 2014

It’s been a bad couple years in tech, with declining margins (and in many cases volume/revenue).  I said the other day that this would be a big issue if it flowed out of the larger companies to the smaller ones.  While we can’t tell yet, here’s an encouraging sign, courtesy of Dell, who started this latest run.

The first wave of Dell folk to volunteer to leap from the privately owned biz with a redundancy parachute, swept over parts of the organisation last week – and by all accounts the numbers exceeded management targets.

Or so say our sources close to the company, some of whom are now former Dell people that were only too happy to sign up for the redundo money.

The Voluntary Separation Programme kicked off last December when Dell opened the door for workers who did not share management’s “passion and enthusiasm” for the new era.

I’ve been “made redundant” a few times in my relatively long career.  In some cases, I got to stay behind in orgs that were otherwise decimated.  And here’s a fun fact: the people that leave generally have it better than the people that have to stay.  By some speculations, Dell was hoping for about 7% of the people to take the package, and the number was larger than that.  That has to be a little depressing for the people who stayed, who now wonder what they’ve missed.

One other point… The people that left are likely to flow into the business community in the cities around them.  My company is one of the largest employers in quite a few cities.  When I lived in Portland, I had multiple people comment to me that when we did a reduction, the general IQ of the business community went up significantly.  Per my last post on this, that bodes well for the smaller businesses, as long as they’re not afraid to expand at this time.

So sometimes, a little discouragement can be encouraging.  Let’s see if that’s true here.

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