Thursday, March 29, 2007

Microsoft vs. Google

For me, a fascinating struggle is taking place for the future of the Internet and computing, and while with that type of opening comment can be linked to many different aspect of the IT world, in this instance I am speaking of the Microsoft and Google tug-of-war.

There was a point in time when Microsoft undoubtedly and for the foreseeable future ruled the computing roost, today that dominance is less pronounced. Some would say on a marked decline, and the supplanter of that position of power is search giant, and uber Internet company Google.

To be sure, Google has learned a lot from its adversary. On the climb up the ladder, Microsoft coupled in house innovation with a ferocious appetite for acquiring small companies that had a twist on existing products or innovations that promised great market segments. Netscape was perhaps the most famous of victims, as they lost the famed "Browser Wars" during the 1990's. But they were not alone.

Today, Google, flush from a spectacular IPO and billions in search/ad dollars is mimicking Microsoft rise to the top, but with a decided Internet slant. They even place a priority on cherry picking Microsoft employees.

There was a time when I was a Microsoft proponent, I wanted to follow the leader, and acquire the skills to program in their newest platforms.

Today however, I've changed allegiance. The reasoning is simple. Its a hell of a lot more simple to accomplish my modest goals by using the plethora of free tools available to me from Google. Why deal with frameworks, classes, compilers and all that jazz, when all I have to do is log onto my Google account and copy and paste a few lines of code, at most.

Keep an eye out, this battle is yet to climax, and when it does, its going to be epic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hunter S. Thompson and the Senate

The link above leads to an AP story covering the Senate's 50-48 passage of a non-binding time line for troop withdrawals from Iraq.

What a resolute congress we voted in! It seems the only thing they care to take a stand on are non-binding bills. Although they do pack in a lot of pork with those bills. Weren't they suppose to put an end to that as well?

In any event, these are days when its difficult to feel good about our political leaders. Certainly I don't let them get me down and despairing. I don't allow them to have that much power over me.

For instance, I just finished reading Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness--Modern History from the Sports Desk by Hunter S. Thompson. Its a collection of his columns on's Page 2 covering a little over 2 years, late 2000 to early 2003. As with any of these types of sports columns turned book, there really isn't anything of importance inside the covers. However, the reader can get a sense of the rhythm of the writers life, his modes and behaviours.

This has nothing to do with the non-binding resolution of today, other than to read of Thompson hysterical embellishments of the Bush Administration's reach into our private lives and freedoms, is like reading of an account of Hitler's Germany of WWII, or Stalin's Soviet Union, and when an environment like those awful regimes is portrayed, it tends to lead people to support opposition. In our case, it led to the 2006 elections, which has left us with this limp noodle congress.

I intended to write about my faux pity for all these poor souls who allow politicians and loyalty to a party run rough shod over an otherwise normal perspective of reality. Returning to Hunter for a moment, if those years during which, and in, he were writing about, were that bad, i.e. oppressive, then honestly, he wouldn't of had the freedom to put those words to paper, or web for that matter.

Yet he does his darnest to frame reality as very bleak and dark. Sadly, people all across this country also bought into this idea, and as I said, it tends to lead people to gravitate to opposition forces. And while that does potentially provide a balance, when their voting decisions run only as deep as "electability", then we're all screwed, because we didn't vote for anything, just against something, or someone in this instance, and the politicians mirror our principles and they in turn stand for nothing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Don't U Wanna Come 3121?

I just returned from Las Vegas where my primary motive for going was not the gambling. It was to see Prince, which he again is calling himself, and it was indescribable. The event took place in his own nightclub, 3121, located in the delightfully sinful Rio Casino.

Prince today is heavy on the blues and jazz, less techno, and he continues to blend the "black" and "white" genres with his electric guitar riffs along side the brass section of his band. Which has a saxophone player who is beyond compare.

While I'm short on names, he was accompanied by a woman drummer; a keyboardist, guitarist and bassist; trombone, trumpet, and sax; two hot twin dancers and a phenomenal female vocalist. His sister even joined him on a few songs, playing the guitar, along with a few other "invited" guest, including audience members he tapped to come on stage to dance and groove.

Late Night's Paul Shaeffer was seen in the audience as well!

I've seen a number of legends of our time, including Dylan, Simon, Collins, The Stones, Kiss, G n' R, and the Dead, and yet Prince was still in a class all alone.

Amazingly, do you know that he will turn 50 next year?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Al Gore for President

Al Gore for President

Students of Right Sarcasm University will find the 1992 book by Mr. Gore, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, an invaluable source of information on the environmental views and solutions held in esteem by the one time most powerful Veep in history.

Unfortunately, once you have read the book, you'll realize that the proceeding 8 years in the Clinton Administration, a time period when he re-invented government and took claim to inventing the Internet, were not a period of putting his words to work.

But once again Mr. Al Gore is at it again. This time, he has taken his climate change soap box global, complete with bashing the current administration on its environmental policies. Just like he did in 1992. In fact, he didn't even have to change the name of the administrations to bash, its all Bush, so that makes updating his shtick simple.

If only he'd had done something as Veep. That would make his position much more credible.

I respect his efforts, I wouldn't want to be misunderstood, but it all seems a little too political to me. I think he has found a good issue to exploit. With his film and book endeavors, along with his news channel, he is building quite an apparatus to become President, all the while positioning himself away from the scrutiny and criticism that most groups who do not hesitate to bash, heap upon right-wing politicians.

Once upon a time, I would of taken offense to his slyness. Today however, I am in awe, yet I side with Ralph Nader, who is not deceived by Gore, who said that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats regarding environmental issues.

I'm no expert, but I read his first book, lived through the nineties, and am paying attention still. I haven't seen much action from Gore, but he sure does have his sermon down pat.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Early Fred Thompson Review

The other day I caught a small part of an interview with Senator turned actor Fred Thompson(or is it actor turned Senator?) on the Sean Hannity radio program. Keeping in mind that it is still inside 19 months until election, and thus way too early to get excited about anyone, I must say I was tickled to hear what he was saying.

The segment I picked-up detailed Mr. Thompson's view on abortion. I presently have had enough of the abortion debate, I settle my position years ago on this issue, as I think most people have as well. Settled the issue in their minds, not that they agree with me. . . . I believe that the fact we still choose candidates based primarily on this one issue, after 30 plus years, is an indictment on politics of our age. Doesn't anything ever get settled?

Anyways, Mr. Thompson, obviously -- he's a conservative, is against abortion. Elaborating his position, he believes that Rowe v. Wade was a bad decision and bad law, and apparently he is supportive of the tenth amendment on this issue. The amendment in the Bill of Rights that expressly states that laws not written in the constitution are reserved for the states to decide upon.

Mr. Thompson would like to see each state settle the abortion issue for themselves. Terrific. As readers of my blog will know, I am a huge advocate of states rights. I have stated time and again that one of the things the present administration does right is not dictating from D.C. on every issue, but rather allowing states to formulate their own laws on given Administration endeavors.

If Thompson is a states rights advocate, I like him, and at this point, and again I feel its way too early to jump on any band wagon, that places him ahead of the pack of candidates who have actually declared. Now if Newt Gingrich would jump into the race as well, this would certainly be interesting to observe.

Again, I must disclaim that I heard scant little of the interview but nevertheless, he may be a force in the election if what I was exposed to is an indication of an across the board conservatism.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tales of Boardroom Power

I've been reading Barbarians at the Gate, a collaboration of Bryan Burrough and John Helyar written in 1990 about the leveraged buyout(LBO) of tobacco giant RJR Nabisco. If you want a glimpse of a world so exclusive, extravagant, and rich, you will find it here. If envy is one of your weaknesses, avoid this book. The players in this game are wealthy beyond compare, and the totally fascinating part about it, to me, is they got this way by borrowing other peoples money. The players in this game didn't build RJR Nabisco, they sold it. They climbed the LBO ladder by selling other companies, not by building them. Absolutely astounding. The road to riches is not through hard labor, but through hard bargaining.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The most honest, therefore least likely to succeed, Democrat.

The most honest candidate, perhaps in either party, will undoubtedly find himself out of the Presidential primaries shortly. You see, honesty, priniciples, integrity have no place in Democrat circles. Issues and voting records take a back seat when it comes time to cast a vote. Oh sure, day in and day out, American's everywhere are subject to the constant whining and complaining from all points left of center, whether it be the press, the neighbor, or Pelosi and Clinton, but when it comes time to vote, all factors take a back seat to that one over-riding concern, electability.

I'll let the results of the last two Presidential elections stand on its own.