Rural Internet Speed

I live in the rural part of Western PA. 
I can see stars at night.
Two cars a day drive by my house.
My dogs run loose.
The deer often sleep in my yard.

But my Internet speed sucks.
I have Verizon DSL and pay $37.00/mo for
“high speed internet enhanced”.
You may ask: What is “enhanced”?
And, so do I.

Some days it is really fast – up to 5 meg
(that is a sarcastic statement)
Most days, it is just frustrating.

desktop time

So, I was sitting at my desktop doing some consulting work for one of my clients.  It was not a big job, and that was good for with my current back issues, sitting at the desktop is something that I needed to limit my time doing.  It should take me less than 15 minutes to do this job.

So, in starting this minor technical thing, I ran into a glitch. Glitches are common in  technical work.  So, an hour later of investigating and figuring out how to deal with the glitch, I got back to the one thing I originally sat down to do.  The glitch had to do with something in WordPress and just before I shut down my own blog that I use to test things, I noticed a few errors in my blog posts. How log can it take to fix these few errors?

An hour later, my back hurting I got up to take a break.  I answered a call, then as I went to put my phone down, I noticed an email arrived. I checked it and saw I needed to do another minor task for another client of mine. I returned to the desktop, with a bowl of cereal in hand.

An hour later, now my back hurting more and my cereal bowl empty. I went to shut down my blog that I had been working on to fix those minor errors.  Hum, I never noticed that many of the posts I imported from my Google blogspot had some many ‘uncategorized’ entries.  That needed fixed.

An hour later, I was still not done, now my back is really hurting and I needed to sit in front of the piano to practice some pieces before my lesson tonight.

So after five hours of sitting in front of my PC, I got up from my chair and left my screen with the blog still needing work. I hobbled away, my back bent and leaning to one side.

And we wonder why we are so busy these days, and why our body aches.


Young people blogs

My son has begin to post blogs of his mountain hiking adventures and I really enjoying reading them with one exception. 

His choice of fonts sucks. Here is an example:

“my body tells me to “move or freeze … “


My eyesight is 20/70 in my left eye and 20/40 in my right eye. I have glaucoma, floaters, cataracts, 

lazy eye, early symptoms of Aged Macular Degeneration and bad progressive trifocals glasses.  

So I prefer fonts that are large, bright and clear.

This kind of font  is almost invisible for me!

This is better, but hard for me to read.

This is acceptable

This I can handle with no problem

This font makes me fee really old……

So, dude!  We do not have a shortage of electronic writing space.  Bits are free, using small fonts
does not save the environment and uses the same amount of energy as 

And the line spacing features in Google’s blog software  suck too!

So there!



Got this email from my son this morningL

Yesterday I got back from a SQL conference that LEGO paid for me to go to… it was in Vegas.  Today I have no job because LEGO abruptly shut down our entire office and laid off over 100 people. 

I not only lose my job, but I lose my job on my wife’s 40th birthday, the same day we went to a friends wedding.  Not to mention that I also lose about $15000 worth of 401k that was going to be vested next year

And now, I get to try to find a Senior DBA job in a economy that totally sucks.  Yay me!

I hate layoffs.

In my careers, I was laid off five times.  Twice at a young age in the defense industry. So when I got into high tech, working for IBM, I felt safe from the shock of hearing that your way of making a living was gone. Then, 20 years later, I was laid off three more times. Later in my career,  I also was involved in deciding who got laid off. I hated it. 

My last layoff forced me out of my high tech, high paying career.  I was too old to compete in a weak market.  It forced me to adjust to living on 30 % of what I use to make, I had to work in career I hated – sales.  Now, I work 50 hours a week in my full time job and when 10 to 20 hours a week at my two part time jobs. Oh, I also collect social security.   I now make about 40% of what I made over ten years ago

Lately, there are demonstrators in many cities who are basically demonstrating about the wealth, greed and unfairness. Latest statistics show that in the last fifty years, the top 10% of income earners that use to hold 1/3 of the nation’s wealth now hold 1/2 of the nation’s wealth.  

For the past five years, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, over 150,000 employees get laid off each month.  Many months, the number exceeds 200,000.  My son’s story, my story and those of hundred of thousands are very similar. We loose, the companies gain.

As my son’s company lay off 100 employees in a decision made by some unreachable person, the company posts record breaking profits:

Pretax profit leaps nearly 70 pct….

Where is the Fairness in that, where is the Accountability,  whose Interest are they watching out for, why is this Right?  The demonstrators know things are not FAIR.  

And the hundred of thousands every month get told, Ah… tomorrow, your way of making a living is gone.  

I don’t have the answers, but I do know letting 10% of the people in a nation to own over 1/2 the wealth and make decisions that impact hundred of thousands each month is not my idea of being FAIR!

It is not democracy.  It is not what our forefathers wanted out country to be. It is not a system that will last.  The 90% of us who basically support the upper 10% will not allow it to go on forever.

It is time for some Fairness, Accountability, our Interest to be considered, and doing what is Right.

It is time to be FAIR.

I don’t take a solid position on any political party. I don’t believe in trickly down economics. I don’t believe the government should be as big as it is. 

I think the system is broke, wrong, and self serving. 

It is stupid for a country of 200 million people to instill the power of running the country in the hands of people who are selected by their ability to raise money, say whatever needs said to get votes, and put down their opposition with dirt, negative advertising, and misleading statements.  This is the most stupid way to select leaders I know. How does this qualify anybody to solve some of the most complex problems we know?  How can slinging dirt at your opponents help in solving poverty How can making promises that you know you can’t keep make you qualified in solving global warming How can spending the most money on advertising make one qualified on building peace with nations who want us dead? 

Where is representation, accountability and fairness?

Where is the fairness of an executive to make millions of dollars  a year to decide to lay off 10, 20, 30% of his work force?  Let’s see … profits are heading down by a few million dollars, so let’s cut our spending by laying off 10,000 hard workers who make 50K per year. That will save us  

What have we allowed to happen?

Isn’t it time we take back the power we gave to these idiots?    


Now, I’m ranting.

I just wanted to plant a thought:  Maybe, just maybe we need to change things.

Go. do it!

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing
Today it works like this. Tomorrow, it works differently.
In the mid 90’s,  I made a decision that my staff would get Windows PC’s on their desktop, It was then that I started to develop a theory. My theory has to do with  the time it takes humans to adapt to change.  Some are faster than others, but none can adapt instantly.  Microsoft Office took sometime for my staff to learn, but they did. They used Outlook for email, learned to send files attached to email. schedule meetings.  They learned PowerPoint to better communicate their plans. They learned how to use Excel to better plan their work.  They became more productive. Then a year later, the company IT support department decided that everyone should migrate to the new release of Office. When it was installed in my staff’s desktop, it took them months to adapt to the differences between the old release and the new release. It took them months to reach the same level of productivity that they had before the upgrade. 
It was then that I developed a theory that, in order to benefit from new technology, one should not change it frequently.  Younger people would accuse me of getting old fashion.  So let’s fast forward to 2011.  Tablets like the iPad are taking over where PC’s use to be.  Smart phones like Google based Android and Apple’s iPhone are extending the reach of being connected and redefining applications.  Cloud computing like Google’s applications, Dropbox, Saas, and other new applications are replacing software that you install and run on your computing device. 
One of the big difference between Cloud computing and the old-fashion PC installed software is who decides when it changes.  In PC based installed software, normally the user decides.  Between 2000 and today (2011) that is often challenged with PC installed software often updating itself without the user’s knowledge. However, if one is technically astute, they can control when updates are done. 
Not so with Cloud computing.  One day it works this way, and tomorrow it works differently.  The user never sees a change coming. It just appears to work differently.  Currently, I’m a heavy user of Chrome and the Google applications. They are ‘free’ and I use Google docs often for spreadsheet and word processing needs.  Often, when I tried to do something as simple as add a column of numbers using the SUM function in spreadsheet talk, it works differently than it did before. The results, I frequently have to retrain myself how to get it to work.  It normally is just an minor aggravation, and only a small amount of disruption. Sometimes, however, the disruption can be more than minor.
I’m just forced to adapt, faster, more often, and unexpectedly.
If this trend becomes accepted behavior in the software and technology development world, and I claim it is, then what will happen when technology gets really sophisticated?
Let’s fast forward to 2030.  Singularity is upon us. Computing is pervasive.  You are always being monitored and connected to the Cloud.  Your transportation is automatic, your calendar is always updated, your family knows what is going on with you all the time, as does the legal world. Your TV, phone, tablet, desktop is now everywhere and you can not tell one from another. You have a ‘personal assistant’ that ‘lives’ with you. Some call it an AI robot, but is is really more than that. It takes care of you, plans your day. You depend on it for your health and well being.   You become attached to it. You like it. It likes you.
One day it works like this, then the next day it works differently.
What’s with that?   
Who, or what, is controlling whom?

Medical Information

Had another MIR today. When I asked if I could have a copy, they said I would have to get it from the doctor – that he would have to give permission to release it to me. When and why did we allow others to have the right over us getting access to our own medical information? I believe we should own our own information.

Time for a rebellion!
Then they asked if they could make a copy of the MRI CD I had from 14 months ago. Oh, I can’t tell you how many smart ass possible replies came into my mind to that question. Before I gave it over, I did ask why they wanted it. Their answer was valid, so I let the copy it. However, it felt good that I had control over my own medical information, instead of somebody else having control over it.