Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hot Mail

Carl Madoff: Internet Libretarian?

Cutting Off Newspapers?


Had Enough?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wenesday 25 FEB 2009 Observations

Today is truly Ash Wednesday.

My boss is starting training for his deployment Friday, commencing his 14 months of Active Duty until May 2010. Next stop after training: The Middle East.

My Higher Power handed me two pieces of comedy, from his point of view:

1) Because we are closing out a position (due to my CIO's insatiable desire to consolidate power), I'm being tasked to work that position, without additional pay.

2) Because my CIO's decision to eliminate the position, services normally counted on by our CEO were not provided (this was before I got tasked, BTW). For the first time in 8+ years, they admitted, in writing, that I was working two jobs. So sorry, no back pay, etc.

So, they created a job description, and two slots with that title (one for me), and I am to be a "co-equal" of the person that is to be selected as the second. Ironically, I'm reviewing resumes for that slot. The first thing is how desperate things are out there. Submissions included people taking 50% pay cuts.

The other thing is that I have worked essentially unsupervised for almost nine years. The person coming in will almost certainly start competing with me.

The mythical merger of equals usually plays out badly.

Did I mention that there will now be no buffer between myself, and my 1947 cohort director, once my boss leaves? Of said director, the only thing I can say is that I am at least six inches taller (more like eight) than he is. The rest will be left as an exercise for the student.

It's a good thing I've begun disposing of my personal belongings. Perhaps Larry Rice's mission for the homeless needs another EE/broadcast engineer/IT guy.

Time to go get more medicine for Max.


It is interesting to note that while I could (and perhaps, should) have gone hunting for more lucrative employment, when times were good, those who did are now applying for that co-worker's position. It is a humbling experience, to read the resumes. It's like reading your own obit.

Oh. I already said that. Sorry.

Note that it is when the best of the "middle" classes start feeling threatened, that actual change occurs. When educated professionals live in fear, when high-skill workers are laid off (to afford more management at higher pay), then the elites are running a great risk.

Example: Our funding/revenue has dropped. Solution: Hire a VP who was an official of the losing political party to drum up business, and fire staff to afford him. The economy drops again, the new VP is *still* on the outs, and there is no more new revenue. Brilliant.

Such is the case in early 4T's.

Kindle Snobbery

Former CIA #3 Busted, Convicted

We Need To Cut Headcount

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brooks On The Philosopher-Kings

25 Financial Defendants,28804,1877351_1877350,00.html

Facebook Is For Old Fogies,9171,1879169,00.html

Dumb Uber Alles

The AP Is Nuts..

Here's a scary military weakness

Col. Peters Tells It Straight

Quit Trying To Suck Me Into Facebook!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Observations 16 FEB 2009

Well, Congress botched the DTV Transition, and geeks everywhere are steaming. Only KDNL (ABC), owned by the evil Sinclair, will be shutting off analog tonight. RF-30 analog, and it's 2 MW ERP of front-end overload will be gone.

WSIU is learning that VHF-High might not work so well. Watch for a petition to increase ERP.

KTVI has moved into it's new West County studio, in "HD" (upconverted SD), as has KPLR after it's "assimilation". KPLR's staff were herded into disintegration chambers when Order 66 was carried out, and KTVI staffers were told to work two jobs for one paycheck.,0,5031259.story

I bought a second 48 gallon trash can. This shredding business is getting serious.

Speaking of shredding, my links may become much less frequent. How much of my real life do I wish to spend on being a news aggregator? Another thing to let go of, perhaps....

Well, I Passed *Mine* On The First Try...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cleaning Out The Links!

Some of my bookmarks have been clamoring to have their close-up moment.

In other words, I file my unsorted bookmarks, and post them. It's a cleanup. Some of my sorted folders will come out to play as well. Dead links will go into the Dead Links folder, inevitably.

It's kind of like reading the titles of the books in someone's house...

THE prototypycal US post-apocalypse novel:,_Babylon

Here was a mad, short-lived, USENET group:

The evil E/I:

The Austrians are loose!,25197,23928383-7583,00.html

The Real Madame Airlock:


and that is only a fraction of my baggage....

Links 14 FEB 2009

Blackwater red-faced, changes name:

Til Death Do Us Part- Religion Of Peace Style:

Anarchists, Speed Dating:

Naaah, they're not subject to human desires and flaws...

Mexico Meets Phoenix:,0,5615613.story

Love Potion:

Lower the Six Flags:

Fewer accidents on 44.

Promises NOT made:

FRAK! Google Enters Cell Phone Market:

Multivitamins a scam:

Tomorrow night on PBS:

Better to know the truth than take revenge:

A pilot designs a better airport terminal:

More proof MS screwed up with Vista:

MS opening retail stores?!? Isn't this what doomed Gateway?:

More dead game companies:

Us EE's could have told you this:

So, I'll tell you again. It's simple rabbit ears, or an outside antenna. Spend the $300 on the outside antenna.

Regrettably, Channel Master has changed hands, and designs, so I cannot recommend them anymore. Antennas Direct and Winegard are the remaining choices. For STL a UHF only antenna works great.

Closed airbase brings moral and political CF to the front burner:

Logistics. No base, no support.

Bad news for STL:

Chicago is going to suck us dry even worse. And Texas. Good news- we are not Detroit..

If you have nothing to lose:

More Blago fun:

Fleeing Dubai (hee hee):

More reasons I won't get a date;,28804,1876737_1876735,00.html,30583,1855948_1864555,00.html

Eat the losses:,8599,1879270,00.html

It's the only way to be sure.,8599,1878968,00.html

Worse than Twitter:,8599,1877187,00.html

We already knew this...,8599,1878358,00.html,8599,1879241,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner,8599,1879344,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner

Saturday The Fourteenth! Observations

Well, today I went and bought myself something incredible:

A shredder.

For a compulsive collector like myself, this was a momentous decision.

Into the Rubbermaid tubs that held three decades worth of bank statements, etc. will go the (seldom used) games and books that are taking up needed horizontal space on tables, chars, and such.

I may even see my computer desk again.

M. De Poisson got rid of his immense comics collection years ago, followed by VHS tapes, books, and more. Being married had something to do with it.... I'm forced to now by the fact that every week for the next fourteen months will be like this one: My boss is leaving for Afghanistan, on deployment. He's been run ragged by our higher echelons, and unavailable much of the time for me. By Friday The Thirteenth, my body just said no.

I need to simplify to survive.

You might have noted that there have been no links posted in the last week. That's how busy it's been. I've got five open browser windows waiting to be dumped into a giant links post. I might spare us all the agony.

Going also are the domain names I've never used, e-mail accounts, forums I no longer participate in, games and electronics to be put up on EBay, and more. Time to slim down.

One pesky problem is the sheer volume of drawings and gaming notes from three decades of GM'ing. Not to mention the boxed, typewritten manuscripts (no personal computers in those days). No way am I going to be able to key those by hand. Kinko's might have a scan-to-PDF service. Somebody must have.

In the end, hopefully, I'll have several dozen empty Rubbermaid tubs, and some easy-to-port files.

It will make moving, during the Second Great Slowdown, much easier. Anything that can't be carried in the car will be abandoned. I'm an optimist. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not A Single Vote For the Forum Bullies.

Four votes for rationality, one vote for Real Life, and one vote for ignoring my blog.

I like that person. :)

As I noted to Robert, a lot of internet posters (on any subject) could take themselves off to a little corner of the internet, and be properly ignored, as I have done. It's quite liberating.

I would note that after all the abuse thrown my way, and my voluntary departure, the forum has improved little in civility. So much for my corrupting influence, as I suspected.

Observations 10 FEB 2009

This is classic tornado weather. Today was the anniversary of the infamous tornado of my birth year.

Last night, we played "Cash, Guns, And Money", with the Yakuza expansion module. A good time was had by all. A horror game followed, which had two unexpected turnings- M. De Poisson was delighted by turning into the traitorous member early in the game, and met an early demise as the rest of the group actually co-operated!

Of our group, The Man Who Must Die First is moving. A collective moving party helped him this weekend. I'll miss the old house; it was nearly the perfect structure for our semi-annual gaming cons.

An unpleasant reminder of the war- my boss' formal announcement of his deployment dates. His tour will last until at least May 2010.

The doggie got a trim this weekend. Snarl. He was a tornado for some time. Now, he is adjusted to his slick look, and is ready for his close-up.

At work, the fear and gloom continue. No one knows when more hammers and axes will fall.

On the plus side, my mom's basement is still open. :) And with an increasing need for home health care, a Fourth Turning need to take care of my family may prevail over my ego.

Especially should a certain 194X cohort supervisor *really* go mad.

WSIU-8, PBS Carbondale has completed it's transition to VHF-High operation. It had spent the pre-transition dates on UHF-40 for it's DTV operations. The new RF 8 operation has been disappointing. At 112 km/ 70 statute miles, UHF performance had been good, even in poor propogation conditions. Now, on RF-8, reception time is about 10% of what the UHF signal was. This bodes ill for VHF-High OTA viewing, much less DX'ing. The current ERP for WSIU is 30 KW, increasing to 53 KW 18 FEB. Twice nothing is still nothing. It's less than a 3DB gain. Most of us lose that through the structure, or, in my case, cable runs.

KETC may have been lucky to lose their fight with WSIU, when they lost VHF-9.

I suspect after even the 12 JUN 09 dithering, many who depend on a VHF-High DTV signal will find it to be problematic. STL is a UHF only market for DTV. Several markets have mixed VHF-High and UHF populations. Station owners who had looked to massive power savings from using VHF may find themselves in a bind, as noise factors and weak signals make OTA-only viewers quite upset indeed. Co-channel, and adjacent channel interference may also be major factors, as there are only 7 VHF-High slots. Columbia MO, Quincy IL, Cape Girardeau, Springfield IL, and Carbondale IL are all hashing away at each other over STL. Our cheesiest UHF's suffer little from atmospheric noise, even at ERP's below 150 K (obviating the need for expensive transmitter maintenance, and high total power-in's).

Prediction: VHF HIGH (7-13), and LOW (2-6) are going to turn into Low Power Hell, in the fullness of time, except for extreme rural markets. Watch translators/repeaters, and sub channels on other stations start replacing VHF in outer/rugged areas.

Barrington may opt for an LD UHF ABC in Quincy...humiliating when a 15 KW ERP UHF is more useful than a less than 50 KW ERP VHF. KTVO's miserable signal will compel this.

Many small markets are defying the FCC, and going to DTV 17 FEB. That power bill is their margin of survival. I can see many small markets going to 60 meter/200 foot tall unlighted towers, and shared facilities, with several 15 KW LD's on UHF. They will be robots. Rolla, MO, might be an example, as well as Quincy/Hannibal, with translators in Macomb IL, etc. Money will dictate the loss of air talent, and the power bill will be the next blow to local TV. Hello, internet, for everything but The Big Events.

Well, Obama Finally Managed To Personally Annoy Me!

His news conference pre-empted House MD. Snarl.

Well, maybe I have a historical artifact for the hour burned on DVD.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Links 7 FEB 09

The Izzies hate all their choices:

Thrift shops not immune:

Last launch of weather sat type:

Greenland is melting:

The Google Tracker Paranoia continues:

This takes the cake today for corporate evil:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Links 6 FEB 2009

I already do this:

Hello Chris and James:


Facebook- Just Say No:

Death Is An Option says Niall Ferguson:,0,6972232.column

He apparently forgot October 1917.

STL is on a major migratory route, so this is old news:

Google Stealth Updating:

Utah. State of Paranoia:

RIAA takes control of Justice Department:

GASP! You're going to have to get an outside TV antenna! *shocked*:

I never predicted this.

Japans Epic Stimulus Fail:

ID Paranoia:

Arnold could fire every state employee, and not break even. which part of "we're all just going to bust out" did you not understand:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Links 5 FEB 2009

Prepare to be blasted by a week's worth of delayed links.

You may scream, now.

The cops originally turned the finder away, so he went to the TV station:

Just say no to Facebook:

H-1B abuse, this time from bailed-out banks:

IBM offshoring:

Geek culture woes:

Wash U, the Borg:

Goodbye to my JR High.

Friedman figures out We're Just Screwed:

Weather geeks, unite!:

The Evil Empire Is Back:

Idiot Congress:

DUI Guy must have been a libertarian from my old political board:

Laws don't apply to him...

Bad news for the furries:

Drive-by US Passport hacking (not like I predicted this, or anything):

discovery launch delayed:

Nowhere to hide:

Problem with this, is that you either have local admin rights, or you are a slave:

If only journalism was worth paying money for:,8816,1877191,00.html

States getting REALLY out of control on sales taxes- by charging on purchases made in other states:

Warm and fuzzy Dick Cheney:

Must be the wheelchair.

More failed Nuclear ORI's:

Damn that liberal Stars And Stripes!

Japan entering 2nd Great Slowdown:

Worst GDP in 26 years:

There is no depression.

Cry for the movie studios:

The AMISH are hurting:

100K job losses this week:

Joe I quits the US:,0,168226.story

The other 60% are selling dollars:

Cutting the cheese:

Coming soon to your employer, too:

States turn into the Rock Hill and Shrewsbury cops, when budgets go bad:

Fire 7000, get bonus:

Red Light Camera ATM's:

And you thought MY flying was bad:

US being cut off from key air base:

Not like I predicted this, or anything.

Depression making us Grammar/Spelling Nazi's:

Italian cops do the revenue thing, too: