Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Do Gays Want Free Speech?

California is going through a challenging time regarding the gay community vs the non-gay community. The gay community believes strongly in free speech, and bases their right to demonstrate and do things like hanging effigies of Sarah Palin on free speech.

But they're not fair in their application of free speech.

A neighbor had a sign in her front yard supporting California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman-- until it was taken! The sign said "Proposition 8 = Free Speech"! How ironic.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

VMware Fusion Error- Found & Fixed!

VMware's Fusion is a terrific way to run Windows on a Mac. I ran into a problem the engineers at VMware hadn't seen before and couldn't fix (yes, we have a direct line to them). In fact, they were leaning towards blaming it on Microsoft-- which may be accurate-- but it was caused by Fusion.

Here are the details:
  • Fusion allows you to launch a PC application even when Fusion isn't running by double-clicking on a file type that requires a PC program.
  • I tried that on a Microsoft Visio file, and got all sorts of Visio errors that caused my virtual PC to restart. The specific results were that Viso opened slowly, then opened 25-30 windows very quickly, shutting them down just as quickly, then restarted the PC (which is running Vista Ultimate). Opening Visio natively in the virtual PC had the same results. Visio was unavailable-- period.
  • I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Visio. Same problem. I combed the registry and found nothing. I called VMware, and their programmers said that based on what they do, it must be a Visio problem-- even though the problem started when I tried this new functionality of opening a PC file from the Mac without Fusion running.
I went back to the PC's registry and looked for more clues. Here's what I found:
  • I had Visio set to reopen the last file automatically. It was pointing to that same file, whose path it couldn't resolve.
  • We map drive letters to point our PCs to various areas on the network. Drive N points to the redirected My Documents folder on the network. The line in the registry that formerly told Visio to start in "n:\" now pointed to "n;\".
  • Removing the file from the start line in the registry and fixing the StartIn path resolved the issue.
I called VMware's engineers and let them know so they can put it in their knowledgebase.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I got a ticket in the first few days of California's new cellphone law. I know I've earned many tickets for which I was never caught, so I just paid the ticket. An option was to take traffic school to keep the point off my record and keep my insurance low, just $57-- and two nights. I agreed.

While in traffic school last night I learned that my infraction may not have been one that earns a point; that it's treated more like a parking ticket. But the instructor (who probably gets paid per attendee) said he I should stay in the class in case that info is not accurate... so I stayed. This morning I confirmed that it's a non-point infraction; the courts should not have offered traffic school as an option.

So I sat through four hours of grueling torture last night, all the time realizing that I freely chose to be there even though I probably didn't have to be. I wonder if that's kind of like what Hell will be like-- sort of Hell-Lite.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Okay... So I Guess I Don't Get It...

Gasoline prices are still very high! Though Americans are glad to see prices inching down towards $3.00/gallon-- and sometimes less-- I don't understand why they're still above $2.00. Here's my thinking:
  • The gas companies say they price their gasoline based on the cost to replace inventory. That's a reasonable accounting method (lifo, or last in first out), but it needs to be consistently applied.
  • Now that oil is below $80/barrel-- less than half it's all time high from just months ago, why haven't they adjusted the price of gasoline down by the cost to replace inventory? It's as though they are using another accounting method-- fifo (first in first out)-- which is just plain wrong.
They've always got the same old excuses about the cost of exploration, etc; but those costs were built in before the cost per barrel skyrocketed, right? Has the cost for exploration increased significantly in recent months? I doubt it. But once again, they've gotten the American people complacent about a methodology that raises their revenues beyond reason. And what does Congress always do? They investigate, which generates income from lobbyists, then declare no wrongdoing found.

I'm ready for a change... are you?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Congress Just Can't Control Themselves!

I pulled down a copy of the Rescue Bill's table of contents today because I had heard rumors of lots of pork. I was astonished to see what Congress has packed into this emergency legislation needed to bail us out of the financial crisis it appears they have created! Here are a few things I found:
  • Authority to Suspend Mark-to-Market Accounting (this will actually fix one of the laws Congress enacted following Enron that has caused the recent collapse of so many companies)
  • Energy Project Tax Credits! For renewable energy, electricity generated from marine renewables, wind generation, geothermal heat pumps, steel industry fuel, coal gasification, biomass ethanol plants, biodiesel and renewable diesel, plug-in electric drive cars
  • Increased taxes to fund black lung disabilities
  • Environmental Tax Credits! For carbon dioxide sequestration, energy-efficient buildings, green buildings and sustainable design projects
  • Transportation Fringe Benefits for Bicycle Commuters
  • Something called a Carbon Audit of the Tax Code
  • Expense Deductions for Elementary & Secondary School Teachers
  • Rum Excise Taxes for Puerto Rico & The Virgin Islands
  • Economic Development Credit for American Samoa
  • Credit for Mine Rescue Training & Equipment
  • Indian Employment Credits & Accelerated Depreciation for Business Property on Reservations (sounds like Casino help!)
  • Railroad Track Maintenance
  • Motorsports Racing Track Assistance
  • D.C. Tax Incentives
  • Tax Relief for the film industry and those who import toy wooden arrows
  • Funding to encourage mental health and substance use disorder parity with other health insurance provisions
What do these have to do with getting us out of our current financial crisis?