Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Junk Products

I used to love Sony.  They made quality products that you could count on.  Nowadays, they make cheap Chinese junk just like a lot of the other garbage manufacturers.

I just got done watching my Sony DVD player scratch a brand new DVD to the point that I can't fix it anymore. The DVD player is 2 days old, yet Sony insists that the labor and shipping costs (under warranty) are $74.  For a $49 DVD player...  Yeah, you do the math.

I will never own another Sony product as long as I live.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Has it really been 18 months since I posted anything here?  That doesn't seem possible...  It's amazing how quickly time passes as we get older.

While we were out on a hike this past weekend, my son decided to throw a rock.  At his sister.  Which hit her in the head.  It was only a golf-ball size rock, but as you can probably imagine this is like saying, "he only hit me with a framing hammer; at least it wasn't a sledge!"  After holding some ice on her head (and yelling at the boy) we managed to all have a good weekend.

And, here I am.  At the end of the week.  Again.

Time passes far too quickly.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The History of Visual Studio

MSDN Channel 9 has posted a new documentary series cleverly titled The Visual Studio Documentary.

Ah.  Nostalgia.  I loved this video, and I look forward to the rest of the series!  I have been working with Microsoft development tools since GWBASIC made its appearance in DOS 4.  If you'd like to see how software development and the Windows platform have evolved over the past 30 years, go watch it!  It's a fun way to spend a half-hour walking down memory lane.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shroud of Turin Debunked?

Reuters is reporting that an Italian scientist has reproduced the Shroud of Turin using only materials commonly available in medieval times.  Apparently the shroud was also carbon dated in 1988 by a handful of labs and found to originate between 1260 and 1390, though skeptics argue that efforts to restore the shroud around that time are what contaminated the results.  How the image appeared on the shroud has been a mystery, but this new article definitely offers a plausible explanation.  I find it difficult to believe that there are still people out there who believe the shroud to be authentic.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Twenty Minutes?!

That's how long it took my SQL Server 2008 Express install to complete tonight.  This is a relatively simple application, with very few dependencies and a smal overall footprint.  Why, oh why, can something so trivial take so freaking long to install?

I've noticed this with a lot of applications lately.  Things take forever to install when they're really not doing much.  My server application installs about a half-gigabyte of data and over 300 registry entries for various components.  It takes about 40 seconds from start to finish to install.  I'm using an MSI installer, just like SQL Server does internally...

I don't get it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why I Love To Cook

Even when I'm eating alone, it's nice to make something good. Tonight's fare was a New York steak, marinated for an hour in a garlic, sea salt, peppercorn, and red wine marinade and grilled to medium-rare. I added some four-cheese mashed potatoes and fresh steamed asparagus. Tonight's wine was an organic red Zinfandel from Frey Wineries. Everything was cooked to perfection (okay, I might be a little bit biased) and made for a pleasant sunset evening on the patio in our new yard.

I think it's good for a guy to know how to cook. Not only does it impress women, it comes in handy when you want a steak dinner but don't want to shell out $35 bucks for something you can cook at home for $8.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Is Capitalism Evil?

Adam Smith Michael Moore recently released a new documentary titled Capitalism:  A Love Story.  His thesis is basically that capitalism is evil and needs to be replaced with something that better supports the people.  It’s easy to sympathize with the evidence that he presents, especially given the current economic woes America is facing.  But is Capitalism really to blame?

The economic theory proposed by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations basically proposed the idea that human greed could be used as an “invisible hand” to guide people to ultimately do what is best for society.  He proposed a trickle-down theory of wage earning; the more money a company earns, the more capital it has available for paying workers to perform the labor required.  Contrary to popular opinion, Smith did not propose the exploitation of the proletariat.  In fact, he wrote that any person who performs the same sort of repetitive tasks over the course of his life will inevitably become “as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for the human creature to become.”  He advocated the development of industrial technology to replace these repetitive tasks and envisioned competition among skilled laborers resulting in wages that are competitively priced across the marketplace.  The goal was to turn a traditionally terrible human trait (greed) into something ultimately beneficial to society.

My opinion is that capitalism is not the source of our troubles.  There are several issues we need to deal with before we can fully recover from the economic crisis we currently face.  One of the main issues is outsourcing.  We have, for various environmental and political reasons, outsourced much of our manufacturing and service capacity to foreign territories.  Adam Smith warned about this – the short-term benefits are far outweighed by the long-term damage that will inevitably come to any nation that sacrifices its self-reliance.  We also need to bring some balance back to the wages offered to the bourgeoisie.  When the CEO of a company makes two-thousand times the salary of the highest paid employee something is obviously wrong.  The position of CEO is important, but to be honest it is much easier to find a business major capable of leading a corporation than it is to find a nuclear physicist.  Anyone who disagrees with that statement needs to read this.  I am so sick of hearing about corporations that post multi-billion dollar losses and yet continue to offer their CEO and board of directors hundreds of millions in bonuses and perks.  I think even Adam Smith would have these people executed as traitors.

Michael Moore is a great film maker, and I whole-heartedly support his freedom to create whatever films he wants.  I appreciate debate in the political and social arena, and I wish we could all actually debate the issues without becoming so emotionally involved that we begin attacking each other.  Democracy and capitalism can work together to produce a country beneficial to all of us if we have the courage to work together and stamp out the problem areas as they arise.  I don’t believe Socialism is the answer, but it is a necessary step if the market is unable to moderate itself from the inside out.

Finally, to make this blog entry suitable for posting on my “technical” blog, here is some programming advice:  If you program, learn C# and then learn LINQ.  If not, try out Phrogram.

My next entry will be on LINQ.  It’s time to get back to the world of development for a while.  :)