Ah HA! (OR Nefarious Voicemail)

July 31, 2009

Turns out that Ezra is irritated by the obnoxious voicemail wench who instructs you on how to use voicemail, every time you go to leave a message.

I’ve long thought that this was a scam (like almost all other mobile phone silliness) designed to keep their consumers on the phone longer, and thus utilize more precious minutes. I was most sensitive to this when I was using a pay by the minute plan. I often found myself making 61 or 62 second calls thanks to the obnoxious voicemail wench and an overly long pause after she was done, but before the actual beep.

Now, it turns out I was right. Bastards!

several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime

Long Time (OR What are yooouuuu doing?)

July 5, 2009

Wow… it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I’d say “too long” but something tells me it’ll be a while again before I’m back here. Maybe it’s that summer time, maybe it’s that work is crazy busy, maybe it’s the the news never changes… or maybe it’s that I’ve finally reached my limit of “political junkiness”…

It’s been about a year and half that I’ve paid pretty close attention to what’s been happening in national politics, and while the election cycle was interesting, if disturbing in its inanity. We’re now established in the governing cycle, and there’s no reason not to believe that the next year plus will be much like the last 6 months: Republican brainless obstructionism, Democratic policy conservatism, and MSM idiocy.

Anyway, I really can’t stand it any more… our economy continues to get worse, the climate continues on it’s irrevocable path toward catastrophic change, our health care “system” continues to degrade, and our political institutions aren’t equipped to take effective corrective action. Paying close attention only depresses me.

On the other hand, there was a fantastic tennis match earlier today. I fear that Andy Roddick’s performance is going to get lost in all the talk about Roger Federer breaking Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles. You’ll be able to find plenty of stories about Federer, so I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge Roddick.

The NBC bobbleheads mentioned in passing that Roddick played the best match of his career two days after playing the best match of his career. As great as he played against Andy Murray in the semis, he was even better today. His serve, which has always been powerful, was a phenomenal weapon today, but it wasn’t just that. He played so well behind his serve. The fact that, until the last game of the match, he was not broken by the best player on the planet is absolutely incredible.

And Federer was on his game, too. Yet, Roddick broke him twice. He was patient, and did very well picking his spots in which to attack, and made his share of shots. The only thing I think he might have done better was attack more on his forehand.

Regardless, however, Roddick is playing the best tennis of his life and once he recovers from the heartbreak of the loss today, I feel like he’ll be a threat to win the US Open. He’ll certainly still need to get past Federer and probably Nadal, but if he keeps playing the way he’s playing he’s proven today that he’s capable of it.

So, here’s to Andy Roddick, who, I think, surprised everybody today, for giving us yet another highly memorable gem of a Wimbledon final. It sucks to lose, but you played your heart out in the match of your life. Well done, Andy.

Give and Take (OR Neverendingness)

December 16, 2008

I’ve been struggling, of late. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t been posting here much lately. Now that the election is over, it’s hard to connect with the enthusiasm of the Obama Campaign. The transition seems to be going well, but I’m not connected enough to the Washington world to know much about what Obama’s cabinet appointments really mean.

The section of the blogosphere that I follow seem reasonably content with Mr. Obama’s selections, so that’s good.

And yet, as the Bush Administration winds down, people are digging into the misdeeds of that Administration and finding some unsurprising things. President Bush has been going around trying to convince us that he hasn’t been a miserable failure of a President, seemingly oblivious to the economic disaster he, his administration, and his policies have wreaked upon the US, and the world.

Add to that the steady stream of info from Gitmo that seems to confirm the worst of our fears about what this country has done in our name, and for our “safety” and this is truly a depressing time. As President-elect Obama gets down to the business of governing, the shimmer and light of the hope he inspired seems to be fading…   or perhaps it’s just being overshadowed by all the bad news from the past eight years…  or maybe by the Republicans in congress demonstrating how irrationally obstinate they’ll be in the future as they block a short term loan to auto companies that would help prevent the loss of a few hundred thousand jobs.

Anyway, the news just is never good, it seems, and it doesn’t seem likely to improve in the near future. I don’t really want to bring you all down.

I’m just hoping it’s a cold winter, down time, mood that will pass with startling suddeness on January 20th.

New Stuff (OR Technology Toys)

September 12, 2008

As some of you know, contrary to my chosen profession, I don’t always jump on the newest technology trends. In fact, I sometime resist out of principle. I don’t use facebook or other social networking sites. I’m not really an IM fiend. I certainly don’t get the who “texting” thing. Heck, I’m still mildly resistant to tabbed web browsers.

Still, lately, I’ve been thinking that it might be cool to have a place to post some of my quicker hit type thoughts, of compile running commentaries of events of interest (football games, political debates, etc).

To that end, I have created a page at Tumblr.com that I’ll be sharing with Claire. It’ll be a more informal, personal type page. It’s still a work in progress as we explore, but we’d certainly appreciate it if you joined us over there!

Tubes! (OR Google Humor)

September 6, 2008

OK, we all love the nifty Google graphics.  But this is just great!

(h/t Atrios)

Assorted Thoughts (OR Changing Gears)

September 3, 2008

Rumor has it, the Republicans are holding some sort of large gathering right now… I’m pretty sure you can watch it on any major network. What I doubt you can see is any coverage whatsoever of the emerging police state around the aforementioned large gathering.

I don’t know this for sure because there’s a family tennis rivalry to watch tonight, and the much anticipated NFL opener tomorrow. Essentially, the world has provided me with ample excuse to not watch the Republicans espouse, with astounding enthusiasm, policies, philosophies, and ideas with which I completely disagree.

For example: tonight’s theme is “Prosperity.” Just think about that for a minute. The same party that has presided over 2 recessions in 8 years, that has pushed policies to encourage the creation of the housing bubble which has lead to trillions of dollars of lost wealth, that continues to endorse economic policies that will further exacerbate the gap between the “haves” and “have nots”, that same party is going to talk about prosperity? Seriously?


Other random thoughts:

– The biggest win for Sen. McCain with his VP selection is that no one is really talking about him, his unpopular policies, cranky personality, or his uninspiring candidacy. Even if the news is mixed about Gov. Palin, there certainly isn’t a lot of negative talk around Sen. McCain (outside of his apparent lack of vetting his VP selection)

– Google has release a new web browser. Wil is uncertain about the EULA. My thoughts are mixed. But, the comic that tells the back story of the browser is very cool.

– In my never ending quest to find the media play that best fits my needs, I have currently settled on WinAmp. MediaMonkey had its perks, but the Library navigation was always a bit cumbersome. When playing with Linux, Amarok seemed best, but it’s not yet the complete package. By the same token, neither is Songbird, but it seems oh-so-close to being a simple media player/manager. Not a do-everything-and-make-your-breakfast application. I’m going to keep an eye on that one.

– In other software news, the free MagicDisc portion of MagicISO is really handy. Anyone who deals with .iso files on a regular basis should download and install it right now.

Re-Starting (OR Finding motivation)

July 24, 2008

I’ve talked a little about my dwindling enthusiasm for constantly reacting and responding to the goings on in the world. I can’t say that much has changed… although, it seems that some of that apathy was the result of various other disenchantments in my life.

First and foremost, my job. I haven’t said much about it, and that won’t change. But, as of Tuesday next week, I won’t work there anymore. This is a good thing. I’ve taken a new job, which promises to be challenging, and I love me a good challenge. :)

This job change is going to have a couple real-world impacts for me…  first, I probably won’t be able to take public transit to work anymore. Fortunately, I have an efficient car that will still cost less to drive than to buy an RTD pass. Still, I’d prefer to take pubic transit, but the limitations of RTDs system make it highly inefficient to travel by bus between home and work.

On a related note, Marketplace on Tuesday included a story about GM’s investment in an infrastructure that could support electric cars. This is a good thing, especially on the heels of Al Gore’s challenge to us. Still, GM engineer Britta Gross said:

This has the potential to get you 40 miles. That’s really great to know that you can do your commute on just electric drive. It has an energy storage capability and it’s going to be a much more affordable battery.

The same story notes “the Volt will still cost $30-40,000.”

Is it just me, or is this the equivalent of saying that 35 mpg is impressive? Compare this to the Th!nk city, which claims to be able to go 110 miles per charge and will be available in Europe for $31,388 USD.

Anyway, the new job thing…  the other impact is that I need to shop for health insurance. My employer doesn’t have a group policy, so I’m headed out into the individual market for insurance. My initial forays are not really encouraging. All the plans seem the same, and don’t really provide any sort of reassurance that your health care costs will be controlled. Now, this probably isn’t any different than the insurance I have now, but now I know it, and even in this wonderful “free market” I have no choice.

Even worse, I stumbled across this site. It has responses to satisfaction surveys for health insurers in Colorado. Go ahead. Take a look. Tell me how many companies you have to look at before you find one with more positive feedback than negative.

Anyway, I’m hoping the new job will re-energize me so I’ll be more inclined to blog here. The downside, of course, is that the new job probably won’t allow me nearly as much time to actually blog here.

Well, we’ll see. For now, I’m happily suffering from short-timer’s syndrome. :)