Monthly Archives: June 2006

Flag Burning: A Solution

Here’s the solution to the flag burning question.

Enact a law that says to be a genuine United States flag, the flag must be made of some heinous material that pollutes like crazy when burned. Ergo, burning the flag is polluting the atmosphere and is illegal (as is burning all kinds of other chemicals). Burning a flag without these chemicals is fine, since it isn’t a “genuine” US flag to start with.

Thank you, thank you. You can contribute to my political election by PayPal. Send your payments to Dani...@hotmail.com

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Pouring your drink on your notebook — not so good

Yes, I am a bone-head.

Last Thrusday I managed to dump a drink on my notebook computer. I was sitting out on the deck, IM’ing some friends, when I decided to go inside. I stuck my drink in the crook of my elbow and picked up my notebook. My notebook started to slip out of my hands, and instinctively I bent over to catch it before it hit the ground.

I caught it, but by bending over, I also tilted the bottle in the crook of my arm, causing my beverage to careen all over my notebook keyboard. I dowsed my computer and good. Being the calm sort, and seeing the value of all of life’s experiences, of course I stayed very calm thoughout this ordeal. My brain-augmentation device, my memory, my email, my appointments — it all just dissapeared.

So now I’m waiting on the FedEx guy to show up with a new keyboard for my notebook. I learned a few things about taking notebooks apart, and I got to check out if my backup system is working (it is, but not like it should be) I also got to practice my colorful language skills! Hey. Was that a deal or what?

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Consultants: Who Needs ‘Em?

I’ve been in technology management consulting for over 20 years, starting off in the Blue Ridge Mountains and ending up in places like San Francisco, Detroit, and Washington, DC. My clients have included Charles Schwab, the INS, Ford Motor Company, Pitney Bowes, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the Department of Defense. I’ve consulted for the big guys, and I’ve hired and managed consultants. Along the way, I’ve constantly been amazed at why and how people employ consultants. What is a consultant? Why would you need them? How do you go about finding one? How do you know they’re doing a good job? How much should you pay for one? You’ve got questions, and I’ve got answers.

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The Reading List

I’ve got a good set of books I’m tackling this week. First up is “Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife” — Counterinsurgency lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. The second book is ‘The Sling and the Stone” — on war in the 21st century.

I felt that with all the political debate on the war in Iraq, it might do some good to learn about insurgency warfare from some of the experts. So far, I’ve finished the first book and am starting on the second. There’s lots of good material in here and perhaps I’ll share some on the blog sometime.

I don’t think it will change the political discussion, however. It’s an election year, and as I’ve already pointed out Americans are going to argue a lot no matter what is going on. I do think it is good to know something about 4th Generation Warfare and COIN (Counter Insurgency) Operations as a citizen. After all, if we are paying these guys in the military to do it we should at least take some time to learn more about what they are doing, right?

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Take The Top Off!

This is a picture of my jeep with the top taken off
What could be more fun than this on a hot summer day? Where’s the beach!

Now that summer is really heating up in the Southeastern US, one of the things I love to do is take the top off of my Jeep and go for a ride. Fortunately, today I have a meeting with clients in a nearby city. I’m doing some light RUP, OOAD, and .NET training for a small technology department. I like the job a lot because of the people, it is also very closeby and it’s a fun gig. Adding to all the benfits is being able to play with my toys some while I’m working. The only thing I need now is the beach and the Swedish Bikini Team!

UPDATE:

Picture of the current Swedish Bikini Team
Here’s the latest team! What’s a bikini team do, anyway? And who cares, as long as they’re on ESPN?
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Write it up, I’ll take it

I love writing. The main reason that I blog everyday is so that I can practice writing and sort out my thoughts and feelings on issues. I like having you readers come around, but the blog is really for me. I’m constantly pushing for quality material for you to read because I’m constantly pushing to be the best communicator I can be. I am fascinated with what draws crowds — that’s the reason I put links up on Digg and DZone, but I find that the more I start checking to see how many readers I’m getting, the lower the quality of the material I’m putting out. So, for me, blogging is really about what makes me laugh and what interests me. I’m glad you came along for the ride!

Yesterday I pitched a local business journal. They are looking for “wisdom of life” columns — so if you’re an accountant you tell all about what you’ve learned as an accountant. If you’re a mechanic you tell about the pitfalls and stupid stuff you see as a mechanic. They want it edgy and outside-the-mainstream material.

So I sent in an email with the title “Consultants: who Needs ‘em?” I also sent a sample lead (first paragraph) to the editor.

Surprise, surprise, the editor bit. So now I got three or four days to come up with several thousand words on the inside scoop on consultants. I thought this would be tough, but when I sat down to type out a few ideas last night, I filled up four pages in no time flat! I guess I have a lot to say about consulting, huh?

When it comes out, I will cross-post over here.

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Good Luck, Ray Ozzie!

Now that Bill Gates is stepping down, it looks like he has picked a tremendously qualified person to replace him. Ray Ozzie is taking over the helm almost immediately, it sounds like. For those of you who don’t know, Ray is the driving force behind Groove, a tool I think is in the category of WiFi and the I-Pod. I like it a lot, and have been using it for a while. One of Ozzie’s first memos should get everyone’s attention in the software world.

Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges, and it causes end-user and administrator frustration.

Way to go, Ray! But you got a long, hard road ahead of you. Let’s take a minute and look at why Microsoft is in the mess it’s in right now.

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