Random Access Memories

May 6, 2022

Daily dose of reality

by @ 12:48 pm. Filed under Business, Politics

May 1, 2022

How it feels to be a modern American worker living paycheck to paycheck.

by @ 1:52 pm. Filed under Business, Politics

April 28, 2022

This is how billionaires use bureaucracy as a way to justify doing nothing.

by @ 11:11 am. Filed under Business, Financial, Politics

It’s clearly obvious the WFP would never make this happen. So Elon can just spend 40 billion to buy Twitter and blame the WFP for letting people starve. He has enough money he wouldn’t need the WFP to end world hunger if he really cared. It’s all justification for being greedy.

December 1, 2020

A sad day for science

by @ 11:36 am. Filed under Business, Financial, Personal, Politics, Technology


Arecibo collapsed today, but sadly the funding for science in the USA collapsed decades ago.

August 15, 2017

Retail sales and telling us what we want and why we want it.

by @ 8:15 am. Filed under Business

So every so often I check appliance stores to see if they ever have an all-in-one clothes washer and evaporative dryer. In short, it’s a unit where you put the clothes in dirty, and a few hours later you come pull them out clean and dry.

Nobody carries one. Mind you I had one over 10 years ago. But yet no appliance retailer carries one. They often say “You can buy one online”. Well, if I wanted to just be told to buy something online I wouldn;t bother to come look for it in a store now would I? *boggle*

Furthermore, they like to always point out how it takes “several hours” to dry the clothes. As if this is somehow going to change my mind about a product I used to own and want to buy again. These kind of dryers are also very popular in Europe and have been for decades. Switzerland has actually outlawed vented “hot box” dryers since 2012.

They are also very gentle on clothes. They do not give you warm toasty feeling clothes, but that is actually a good thing for fabric.

But yet, do I ever see one anywhere? No, I don’t. Instead, I am told their drawbacks and why I don’t want one. Last time I checked the consumer drove the interaction, not the salesman.

July 19, 2017

Undisclosed compromise

by @ 10:26 am. Filed under Business, Expectations

So I got an email from BofA who holds the primary credit card I use (I pay it off monthly, it’s just to get airline miles)

In part it said the following:

“Security Alert: We’re Issuing You a New Card To Help Keep Your Information Safe. We’re letting you know your card may have been part of a compromise at an undisclosed merchant.”

Oh, I see, an “undisclosed merchant”. IE. a company was compromised, but they refuse to admit whom. Always nice to NOT know what company has a security issue, right?

July 18, 2017

Internet coverage maps that supposedly do not exist.

by @ 8:26 am. Filed under Business, Technology

So recently I have been searching for a house to buy. And the availability of high speed wired internet has been a top priority.

One would think that listing what kind of internet is available at a house would be part of a home sale listing. But it’s not. And the rare times when it is there is no mention of what the max capabilities of that connection are. (It might be shown that a house is serviced by Comcast and/or Centurylink in my area, but the owner likely has no clue what the maximum speed that site is capable of.

Now, those two companies have a database. You can go to their websites, plug in an address and it spits back what is available at what speed. It’s even mostly accurate. However, there is no map of this database. If you want to check what kind of service is available you must put in exact addresses only and get the results of that exact query only. The companies like to say that a map of this data is somehow “unavailable” or “cannot be done”.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Imagine Google Maps as a database, but not as a map. You know “Joe” lives someplace nearby, you remember going to his house a few weeks ago, but you didn’t get the address. You zoom over to that area, turn on satellite data and look for a house that matches what you remember of Joe’s house. While you’re going to Joe’s house you want to stop for some Chinese food, so you search for Chinese in the area and a few places pop up. You do the same to find a bank and a dry cleaner. Because the database is searchable by general area.

If Google’s map database worked like the cable and phone company database you would need to plug in a known exact address for all of these things and then get a “yes/no” reply to that query. You would have to query, “Is Joe’s house at 1060 West Addison?” and the database would reply “no”. It would not show you the location so you would have no way to know how close or far from your possible mark you were.

So you see the data the phone/cable companies have *IS CAPABLE* of being searched in a map view. That’s what the data is. A list of addresses with the speed data correlated to those addresses.

The real question now becomes *WHY* do those companies not want their data to be searchable in map form?

My guess is because such a map would show just how slow and poorly serviced internet customers are.

Nothing like denying information to keep your iron grip on a market, right?

July 6, 2017

And we see the signs of the next coming storm on the horizon.

by @ 3:46 pm. Filed under Business, News, Politics

For those of you not following the markets (overvalued), unemployment data (Unemployment is down), government policy changes (The odds of more fiscal stimulus is almost nil), or federal monetary policy (The Fed is raising interest rates). These are all indicators point to a coming recession in the next 1-3 years.

If you want more signs they will be things like a collapse in consumer spending, a drop in housing prices, rising unemployment, and an inverted yield curve. (You can learn about that here: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/05/inverted-yield-curve-predicting-coming-recession-commentary.html)

We have not seen these more “certain” signs yet, and I encourage you all to look out for them. (I would love to be proven wrong, lol) I think the odds are good enough to start “digging in”.

What does all this mean for us? Well, since we see some of the signs of a train coming at us down the tunnel we can at least plan a little.

Financially, this is a good time to save. Plan for possible coming unemployment. Plan for a drop in the stock market. (Divest your retirement, especially if you are over 45) Look for a job that doesn’t come and go at the whim of consumer spending. (Jobs people always need are more stable than jobs around things considered luxuries. Like eating out or buying a new car.)

Politically, it means that come 2020 we’re going to be looking at things getting worse, not better. Which means a change in party. (For those of you with aspirations of holding political office, heh.)

This is also a really good time to sell a house if you were at all planning to within the next five years. Better to rent for awhile and buy again than to be underwater later when you want to sell.

Me? I’m going to be saving, then investing those savings in the stock market after it looks like it’s hit a low point. Often stocks get badly undervalued when the bottom drops out.

I also think my home buying plans are on hold until the coming recession bottoms out. It will be a good point to buy, especially since the Spokane area where I am is in the midst of a bubble.

Curious as to what anyone else thinks would be good planning measures.


November 28, 2016

Today on “horrible business decisions”!

by @ 5:48 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

Some decisions are just horrifically bad.

Like, really, REALLY bad.

Let’s take for a moment a decision by Gateway computer around 2005.

“Hey guys! Let’s add in some software so when the computer monitor is disconnected from it’s computer it goes into this horribly annoying mode. Since the only reason we put monitors on other computers is when they’re stolen, right?”

Most of you can already see the disaster this causes. Businesses that move parts between computers comes to mind, or my case when these monitors end up on the used market.

I unwittingly bought one of these monitors from Goodwill. It tested fine (at first) and seemed good and pretty.

Then, I saw this pop up:


Oh, lovely… but this can probably be fixed I figured. Most companies understand how their bad decisions go awry.

Hrrm, so the software was made by a third party company, not good.

All the download links to said software don;t even work anymore, also not good.

Sending an email to their support email on their site returns deliverable, hopelessly bad.

So, I get to throw this pretty 22″ LCD monitor in the garbage.

All because Gateway decided it would make a horrible decision, and never bother to put out a fix when that decision went to shit.

Thanks Gateway! Oh, wait, I mean Acer that bought them in 2007.


May 12, 2016

Interesting sign I saw at work today.

by @ 9:28 pm. Filed under Business, Personal


January 8, 2016

Why buy OS books??

by @ 12:36 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

So, someone I know just bought a Windows manual for 80$.

Yep, the good old paper copy “book”. I cannot stop wondering why.

What could possibly be worth so much, that is not already online?

Feels like just a blatant marketing gimmick to get people to spend money for outdated information.

January 5, 2016

“Nobody dies in architecture”

by @ 12:53 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

A quote from the head of technology at the architecture firm i’m working for. It was in response to me asking about timelines and deadlines relating to technical work on support tickets. (IE. They can wait.)

December 8, 2015

On pathetic profits.

by @ 4:41 pm. Filed under Business

Lately something has really been annoying me.

I recently went to a concert, and was frisked when I came in.

Not for weapons, they didn’t care about my pocket knife.
Nor for electronics, they let me in with my digital camera, cellphone and hotspot.
Not for misc strangeness either, as I was wearing a chainmail shirt and belt and they let me in with those.
Or the charging cables, earplugs, medicine, coins tricks…

What they were looking for, was food. And they went through all of my little belt pouches to find it. In the end I was forced to throw away the two energy bars that I carried around.

Because, or course, they wanted me to buy their very overpriced food.

The concert was already expensive, 70$ per ticket.

But they wanted to make me destroy 5$ of my property to get in. (I walked from home, 20 minutes, I couldn’t just “put them in the car”. And they had already scanned me in.)

That irks me. Why do we allow businesses to have such strong controls over things? Do we seriously give up that much of our rights to what we do with our property?

It’s pathetic that we allow profit in such wasteful ways.

May 20, 2015

Maximum Wage Law

by @ 7:22 am. Filed under Business, Crime & Justice, Personal, Politics

So I was listening to NPR this morning. And they were talking about how Los Angeles is voting to raise it’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Of course they had the usual experts there talking about how jobs will be lost because the money has to come from somewhere.

And I call bullshit.

You have people at the top of business, in all sectors, taking home insanely massive paychecks. And as a society we allow that to be subsidized on the backs of the poorest workers while complaining that they can’t make money without slave wages.

Frankly, i’m sick of this shit. Rather than a minimum wage I propose a “maximum wage”. No person can be paid more than half a Million dollars per year in net pay, bonuses and stock.

If you need more than half a million dollars per year to maintain your “standard of living”, then fuck you for being a greedy pretentious prick. The excess will be taxed and a substantial share of it distributed to those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

It’s past time to keep paying the insane salaries of the feudal lords from the blood, sweat and tears of the peasant masses. The system is a sham. We need to break out the torches and pitchforks and take back equality.

March 9, 2015

I think a line must be drawn in the sand

by @ 10:31 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

When I get ready to move again one of my top priorities will be high speed internet.

And by that I mean faster than Comcast or Centurylink DSL. Something TRULY high speed.

February 23, 2015

Strategic Planning Meeting

by @ 4:05 pm. Filed under Business, Personal

So, this is our yearly “Strategic Planning” meeting at the Wood Technology Center. Notice that I am the only one with any technology on the table, lol.

January 19, 2015

Too bad…

by @ 4:54 pm. Filed under Business, Food

UPDATE 2022-04-28: Seems the wine still exists, but it’s way under the radar now.

Seems like Kokopelli Wineries in Chandler, AZ and their wines are no more. (Their phone number and website are defunct) I really loved their “Sweet Lucy” red. Oh well.

December 28, 2014

Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving

by @ 5:06 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics

Anyone know if this has a modern-day equivalent? I would love to get involved with it.

October 23, 2014

On binding arbitration

by @ 2:11 pm. Filed under Business, Personal

So, I went down to a temp agency today to sign up. They had a myriad of forms to be completed of course. One in particular caught my eye.

It was the opt-out form for their “binding arbitration” agreement. While I could (And had to) turn in the agreement to allow binding arbitration to be used in the event of a dispute on the spot the opt-out form had to be faxed or emailed to a specific department.

I challenge this. It appears quite clear it is a way to make sure recruits end up forced into binding arbitration if there is an issue. Very few will actually follow up and send in the opt-out form. (I took a photo of mine and mailed it while waiting for the interview)

I suppose it’s just one more example of corporate USA complicating things in the hope it will gain them an edge.

September 30, 2014

Unimpressed by the Washington Times

by @ 11:21 am. Filed under Business, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Religion

So, somehow I ended up on a mailing list for the Washington Times. Which is odd because I do not recall ever signing up for such a thing, and checking my back emails shows no signup confirmation.

The ad is titled: “Why is THIS Bible verse changing atheists’ minds?”

Now, maybe i’m asking a lot, but I don’t expect media outlets that I might be interested in readon news on to thump the bible. It’s apparently from this nutjob company called “Health Revelations” that claims there is a cure for cancer hidden in the bible.

And after a lengthy sales pitch explaining how you can cure your cancer it asks you to claim your “free gifts” by of course signing up to pay them money: “1-Year Subscription (12 issues) for just $74.00”

Now I know the Times is just looking for advertising revenue, but it strikes me as poor judgment when their ads are more likely to stop people from reading their site than to get them clicks and more readers. This is what I expect from Faux (Fox) News, not “real” news sources.

May 23, 2014

On overqualification

by @ 4:56 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics, Technology

Recently I applied for an opening I found on Craigslist. I received the following reply:

“Thank you for your interest in this position. It would appear yours skills are above the stated entry level for this position. We will keep your resume on file should any positions befitting of your skills open in the near future.”

I consistently hear from conservative minded folks that “There is always work out there if you want it bad enough, you just have to swallow your pride”. Well fucking guess what, sometimes there isn’t, even if you do swallow your pride.

What I also think is funny is this came from the “QA Manager” and contains a spelling error.

March 3, 2014

Front end Vs. back end security

by @ 8:59 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So we are all aware that when we use our bank accounts there are multiple types and layers of security.

When we login to them online that is one secure portal. Often with multiple passwords, verification questions, pictures we choose to make sure it is us, etc. And when we use the cards and the bank takes or stores that information it is another layer. Unfortunately I cannot tell you how secure that one is or what methods they use because, well, they don’t tell us.

But increasingly it seems that back end is less secure than we think. The recent Target mess showed how the point of sale terminals can be hacked. And just today the replacement card I got after that compromise was itself somehow compromised.

Someone tried to run a large transaction at a drug store 2800 miles away. While this transaction failed due to some level of security the bank was still unable to tell me if the attempted transaction was via Credit Card signature or PIN code.

Let’s think about this a second. So we are relying on their security, which does not record the simplest of details of an attempted transaction.

I don’t know about you, but this worries me far more than having my card compromised.

November 12, 2013

Google and Android

by @ 8:40 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So Android is “supposedly” open source.

And in general that is true. But I found this article: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-android-controlling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/3/ that shows that Google really controls Android much more than I realized.

As the article states:

While it might not be an official requirement, being granted a Google apps license will go a whole lot easier if you join the Open Handset Alliance. The OHA is a group of companies committed to Android—Google’s Android—and members are contractually prohibited from building non-Google approved devices. That’s right, joining the OHA requires a company to sign its life away and promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork.

Acer was bit by this requirement when it tried to build devices that ran Alibaba’s Aliyun OS in China. Aliyun is an Android fork, and when Google got wind of it, Acer was told to shut the project down or lose its access to Google apps. Google even made a public blog post about it:

While Android remains free for anyone to use as they would like, only Android compatible devices benefit from the full Android ecosystem. By joining the Open Handset Alliance, each member contributes to and builds one Android platform—not a bunch of incompatible versions.

This makes life extremely difficult for the only company brazen enough to sell an Android fork in the west: Amazon. Since the Kindle OS counts as an incompatible version of Android, no major OEM is allowed to produce the Kindle Fire for Amazon. So when Amazon goes shopping for a manufacturer for its next tablet, it has to immediately cross Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE off the list. Currently, Amazon contracts Kindle manufacturing out to Quanta Computer, a company primarily known for making laptops. Amazon probably doesn’t have many other choices.

While I use and enjoy Android this is rather disconcerting to learn. I suppose time will tell how this all plays out.

May 28, 2013

Transponder keys

by @ 2:40 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So recently I bought a used 2000 Toyota Sienna Van.

I learned that it uses transponder keys to allow the car to start only if the correct chip in the key is near the ignition.

These keys sell for an astronomical amount (Home Depot wanted 80$ for one. The Toyota Dealership wanted to sell me a blank for 80$ and then charge me another 80$ to program it).

Needless to say I did not want to pay this to have a few spare keys made. Enter, the internet.

I searched and found that there was a procedure to make the car add another key to it’s database by pushing pedals in a specific combination. This meant that I could program my own keys. Now I needed keys to program. I found blanks on Ebay, from a seller that had a feedback score high enough to suggest their success rate was high. (It helped that the keys were 8$ each, so if i failed I would only be out 16$ from trying two keys) I got the keys and opened one up, it contained just a simple chip. (hard to get, but not really “special”)

Now to program them. After about 20 minutes I managed to make the programming sequence work, and I had 4 master transponder keys. Now, the cutting.

When I buy a vehicle I like to go to the dealership and get a new blank cut from the VIN. This blank becomes the “uncirculated master” if you will (I got a basic key from Toyota cut from the VIN for 10$. It won’t start the car but it’s the best key to make more keys off of). I was not about to try and ask Toyota to cut my new aftermarket transponder blanks, i’m sure they would have had a fit.

I heard online that often key cutters in big box stores or hardware stores will refuse to cut blanks, and I’ve had the same kind of thing happen to me. I guess they want to sell you their key blanks and might think you’re breaking the law. (Tho frankly getting the blanks is often more useful when breaking the law, but I digress).

Enter the small local locksmith. I found one just down the road from where I worked, went in and showed him the 2 transponders and the master. I said “I need those 2 keys cut from this master”, “no problem” he said and grabbed them up. 5 minutes later I had 2 cut keys for an astoundingly low 2$ each. No mess, no fuss, I was so elated that I gave him 10$ and said to keep the change.

The cutting was good, and both worked perfectly. End cost? 15$ per transponder key (including the cost of the VIN master) and some brain CPU cycles.

The next time you need a “special” key for your car, remember they aren’t all THAT special. Likely you can get one yourself FAR cheaper than the dealership is gouging you for it.

November 12, 2012

Perhaps it’s a tad too early for sushi?

by @ 11:29 am. Filed under Business, Food

I didn’t expect the place to be deserted at 11:30.

October 1, 2012

Why i’m not thrilled with Verizon

by @ 10:42 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So, Sarah and I have two original Droid phones under an unlimited data plan with almost no minutes of usage. We pay $140 per month for both.

But, now we want to add a mobile hotspot to the plan since we have a new Nexus 7 tablet we want data on and the phones cannot do the infrastructure WI-fi the tablet needs to connect to.

But, we can’t do that. Because Verizon does not want us to have our unlimited data plans anymore.

If we went to a new data plan to add the hotspot at our current data usage amounts we would end up paying $240 per month for all 3 devices. (In short paying 4g rates for limited data on our old 3G phones, and there is no phone play as cheap as the one we have now which must also be changed) And of course Verizon wants us to renew our 2-year contract if we change plans (We are currently a year out of contract and like it that way, we’re waiting for something to replace the Droids).

By comparison a T-mobile hotspot is $35 per month for a limited amount of data, but with no overage fees (They just slow down overage services) and a free device.

So much for the benefits of being a customer for 3 years and paying $5000 for their service, they offered me zilch.

April 10, 2012

You wouldn’t want the doctor to do your job, yet that is exactly what these commercials suggest you do.

by @ 7:38 pm. Filed under Business, Medicine

It’s no secret I’m totally against the flood of prescription drug commercials targeting the consumer, asking them to go to their doctor and say “I need this pill”.

But it’s gone overboard. Last night I noticed one of these commercials on TV:

Nexium Commercial One

Nexium Commercial Two

Which clearly act like doing your doctor’s job is a bad idea, yet what exactly is it if you go to your doctor and say “I want Nexium”, IT’S DOING YOUR DOCTOR’S JOB!

I know, I know, consumers are idiots. But I can dream…

December 26, 2011

The Razor’s Edge

by @ 1:15 am. Filed under Business, Personal

Recently I caught wind of the “classic” or “retro” shaving movement. For those unaware this is the concept that the evolution of the razor ended with the invention of the “safety razor” in 1880 (Yeah, 130 years ago…) and the invention of it’s replaceable blades in 1901.

Simply put it makes the case that from that point forward companies competed to “buzzword enhance” the razor rather than actually improve it’s practical functioning. (IE. modern fights between Shick and Gilette over who has rights to a 3/4/5 bladed disposable razor are just fluff, and that these devices do not do a better job of shaving than the razors our grandparents shaved with)

Since I despise shaving with an electric razor, and disposable modern razors don’t do much better I figured I would add a badger brush and a safety razor to my Christmas wishlist. Tonight I got around to trying them.

In a phrase? Holy crap.

First there was the old-fashioned thick lather and brush, then the heavy steel razor, the whole process just exuded a feeling of timelessness compared to a can of foam and a plastic razor. On top of that there is a certain comfort to knowing that you can get safety blades almost anywhere in the world and very cheap compared to modern plastic disposable cartridges. Along with that the razor itself will probably outlast me. Also gone was the clogged disposable razor issue that I had come to despise.

The process will take some getting used to, it’s much easier to razor-burn yourself than with a disposable (especially if one rushes), but the shave is much closer as well. I was probably a tad overly cautious, but repeating the process bordered on enjoyable.

In the end it was an excellent example of how the new ways are not always really an improvement over the old.

October 19, 2011

Money and voter initiatives

by @ 12:34 pm. Filed under Business, Politics

The Washington State government is whining that it won’t be able to find the money to back the proposed ballot initiative I-1163, which calls for better licensing and regulation of long-term care workers.

What is really funny is another version of this same ballot measure passed in 2008 (I-1029) with an overwhelming 72.53% of the vote and yet, they couldn’t find the money to pay for that one either.

They’ve been all about cuts and not nearly enough about increasing revenue (IE. raising taxes).

So, when is it time to say that democracy is more important than the local politicians that don’t dare to pass tax increases? The people have voted for this measure, the government should fund it, end of story.

October 18, 2011

The war over potatos

by @ 7:22 am. Filed under Business, Food, Politics

So “New guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture would eliminate potatoes altogether from school breakfasts and drastically reduce the amount of potatoes served in lunches.”

And of course politicians from potato-heavy states like Idaho and Maine are up in arms about this.

Since of course everyone knows that politicians and farmers know what is truly healthy, not doctors and nutritionists.

October 13, 2011

Dennis Ritchie – 1941-2011

by @ 10:41 pm. Filed under Business, News, Technology

Yeah, I know, “Who?”.

Take a minute and look at your computer, look at all the software you are running, look at all the websites you visit, look at all the portable devices you use. Chances are almost all of them owe a big thanks to Dennis Ritchie.

Dennis Ritchie is the writer of the “C” programming language. Between it and it’s derivatives they are responsible for almost all the software you run or use online. It is also the basis of most operating systems that run your computers as well

Yeah, he wasn’t rich, or powerful, or famous, but his idea and work was the very foundation of our modern computing system.

Perhaps you should know who he was.

May 19, 2011

Using kite parts to make arrows

by @ 1:27 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Reviews, Sports

So I ended up with a dozen Blue Jacket carbon arrows, and needed nocks for them.

Which turned out to be a bit of a problem. The arrows are 230s, which means they are .23″ in diameter. That’s not a size anyone makes parts for anymore since Blue Jackets have been out of production for many years now.

So after multiple failed attempts to check at archery stores I rustled up nocks that normally go on kites at Goodwinds. As it turns out they fit perfectly.

Goodwinds also deserves a nod for their reduction of their shipping costs since they’re only an hour away from me by car, and their good attitude with my over the phone while I ask about archery uses for kite parts.

On to fletching.

July 16, 2010

No more Droids

by @ 11:12 am. Filed under Business, Technology


The Motorola Droid has now been listed as “end of life” in the Verizon inventory system. Yes, your beloved Motorola Droid is finally going to be phased out. In the upcoming few weeks, the Droid will be completely phased out

Motorola and Verizon will be replacing the Droid with the Droid 2.

Droid users should not be disheartened since the Motorola Droid is a very popular phone among the modding community. The Motorola Droid sold like hot cakes when it was launched. It was and still is one of the most popular android phone out there. The successor to the Droid – the Droid 2 will feature a 1 GHz OMAP processor, and 512MB of RAM. The sad news is that the Droid 2 will feature a locked bootloader, which will severely limit its modding capability.

The Droid 2 is expected to be released in August, and will be announced my Verizon within the next few weeks.

It will be nice when we can buy unlocked hardware and add it to the network of our choice.

At least I got my Droid when I could.

July 14, 2010

Motorola submits to the cellphone middlemen and locks their phones

by @ 9:22 am. Filed under Business, Technology


Custom ROMs and Motorola’s Android Handsets
by Lori Fraleigh (lorifraleigh) on 02-12-2010 04:41 PM – last edited on 02-12-2010 06:01 PM

My name is Lori Fraleigh and I manage the technical team behind the MOTODEV program at Motorola. We provide tools, like MOTODEV Studio, and a variety of technical services including application testing services, developer education materials traditional technical support and serve as experts on our discussion boards. Today I’m stepping a bit outside of my day-to-day job to try to answer some questions we have seen not only on MOTODEV, but on various other sites. I’ve worked with a number of other Motorolans to bring you the information in this post.

For the Android application developer, MOTODEV provides a wealth of resources to help you create and bring your applications to market. We provide a comprehensive Eclipse-based development environment, MOTODEV Studio, as well as SDK add-ons which provide emulator images that represent the software on our handsets. To aid developers who may not have access to physical handsets, or who may wish to test on a carrier network unavailable in their physical location, we provide access to handsets via the Motorola Virtual Device Lab at DeviceAnywhere. All Motorola application developer resources can be found at http://developer.motorola.com.

We understand there is a community of developers interested in going beyond Android application development and experimenting with Android system development and re-flashing phones. For these developers, we highly recommend obtaining either a Google ADP1 developer phone or a Nexus One, both of which are intended for these purposes. At this time, Motorola Android-based handsets are intended for use by consumers and Android application developers, and we have currently chosen not to go into the business of providing fully unlocked developer phones.

The use of open source software, such as the Linux kernel or the Android platform, in a consumer device does not require the handset running such software to be open for re-flashing. We comply with the licenses, including GPLv2, for each of the open source packages in our handsets. We post appropriate notices as part of the legal information on the handset and post source code, where required, at http://opensource.motorola.com. Securing the software on our handsets, thereby preventing a non-Motorola ROM image from being loaded, has been our common practice for many years. This practice is driven by a number of different business factors. When we do deviate from our normal practice, such as we did with the DROID, there is a specific business reason for doing so. We understand this can result in some confusion, and apologize for any frustration.

We do hear your feedback and read your posts – whether on our MOTODEV discussion boards, our Owners’ Forums, our Facebook pages, Twitter, or a variety of other sites on the web. We take the time to understand the issue and then pass the information on to the appropriate product (or other) teams within Motorola. We then try to respond with explanations or updates as we get the answers. Thank you for your continued feedback.

If you have further questions, comments, and feedback, you can comment on this post as well as use the following sites:

Use of open-source software at Motorola: http://opensource.motorola.com
MOTODEV and Android application development on Motorola handsets: http://community.developer.motorola.com
End-user support for handset owners: https://supportforums.motorola.com/community/google-android

I guess they failed to recognize the depth of people’s outrage with this because comments were closed after 54 postings and 25,000 views.

I’m an end-user, not a developer, and I want control of my phone. Is that wrong? According to Verizon, Sprint, AT&T or T-Mobile it sure is. Which means it’s more than likely they leveraged weight upon Motorola to lock down their devices.

Another win for the big corporations and another loss for the end user.

May 14, 2010

No Johnny, you cannot be an Astronaut, how about being an oil driller instead?

by @ 6:42 am. Filed under Business, News, Personal, Politics

So what’s come to the top of the pot in the US recently?

We’re found that both BP and the Government were grossly wrong about the flow rate of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (No shock there really, what company isn’t going to make it’s figures as low as possible when it’s impact on the environment is concerned).

We’re learned that Transocean who owns the rig has received 411 million dollars from it’s insurance company, but is trying to use a law written in 1851 to limit it’s liability to 21 million total.

To top it off the last flight of the shuttle Atlantis is scheduled for this afternoon, and the final flight for all the shuttles is a November launch of Discovery. The replacement launch vehicle “Orion” has a scheduled launch date of 2015, anyone that seriously thinks that is going to be on target is fooling themselves.

The US has ignored the job of the Federal Government to push the envelope for the good of the nation and instead now has handed off such trivial things to private corporations. Those corporations are now almost completely running the show, able to do almost anything and ignore the consequences of their actions.

In the end tho isn’t it the people that need to do something about this? Given the great divide in US politics I don’t see that happening for more than 20 years.

So all we can really do now is keep fooling ourselves into thinking that we matter while of course remembering to bow to our corporate masters who demand our money and ruin our environment. Yeah, I am no more thrilled about this idea than you are.

January 22, 2010

Welcome to the USA, now for sale to the highest bidder!

by @ 12:37 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics

Thanks to the Supreme Court corporate money can now flow into political campaigns with reckless abandon.

If money is now considered speech then those with more money have more right to speech.

So much for the average voter actually having a meaningful voice anymore.

May 11, 2009

Why Raid 5 stops working in 2009

by @ 7:20 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

I noticed this on Zdnet, it’s well worth reading.

Why Raid 5 stops working in 2009
By Robin Harris, July 18th, 2007

The storage version of Y2k? No, it’s a function of capacity growth and RAID 5’s limitations. If you are thinking about SATA RAID for home or business use, or using RAID today, you need to know why.

RAID 5 protects against a single disk failure. You can recover all your data if a single disk breaks. The problem: once a disk breaks, there is another increasingly common failure lurking. And in 2009 it is highly certain it will find you.

Disks fail
While disks are incredibly reliable devices, they do fail. Our best data – from CMU and Google – finds that over 3% of drives fail each year in the first three years of drive life, and then failure rates start rising fast.

With 7 brand new disks, you have ~20% chance of seeing a disk failure each year. Factor in the rising failure rate with age and over 4 years you are almost certain to see a disk failure during the life of those disks.

But you’re protected by RAID 5, right? Not in 2009.

Reads fail
SATA drives are commonly specified with an unrecoverable read error rate (URE) of 10^14. Which means that once every 100,000,000,000,000 bits, the disk will very politely tell you that, so sorry, but I really, truly can’t read that sector back to you.

One hundred trillion bits is about 12 terabytes. Sound like a lot? Not in 2009.

Disk capacities double
Disk drive capacities double every 18-24 months. We have 1 TB drives now, and in 2009 we’ll have 2 TB drives.

With a 7 drive RAID 5 disk failure, you’ll have 6 remaining 2 TB drives. As the RAID controller is busily reading through those 6 disks to reconstruct the data from the failed drive, it is almost certain it will see an URE.

So the read fails. And when that happens, you are one unhappy camper. The message “we can’t read this RAID volume” travels up the chain of command until an error message is presented on the screen. 12 TB of your carefully protected – you thought! – data is gone. Oh, you didn’t back it up to tape? Bummer!

So now what?
The obvious answer, and the one that storage marketers have begun trumpeting, is RAID 6, which protects your data against 2 failures. Which is all well and good, until you consider this: as drives increase in size, any drive failure will always be accompanied by a read error. So RAID 6 will give you no more protection than RAID 5 does now, but you’ll pay more anyway for extra disk capacity and slower write performance.

Gee, paying more for less! I can hardly wait!

The Storage Bits take
Users of enterprise storage arrays have less to worry about: your tiny costly disks have less capacity and thus a smaller chance of encountering an URE. And your spec’d URE rate of 10^15 also helps.

There are some other fixes out there as well, some fairly obvious and some, I’m certain, waiting for someone much brighter than me to invent. But even today a 7 drive RAID 5 with 1 TB disks has a 50% chance of a rebuild failure. RAID 5 is reaching the end of its useful life.

April 17, 2009

White’s of the Northwest

by @ 6:01 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

So I stopped by their little shop the other day, and they have a nice selection.

The people however seem to be a little full of themselves. For instance if you are going to argue about technology with your customer it helps to know what you’re talking about. Telling me a USB port could not be put on a detector because it wouldn’t be waterproof when the detector itself is not, and waterproof USB ports do in fact exist does not show much wisdom.

Also one could say it’s not wise to try and argue religion when your customer, especially when they obviously do not see the issue the same way you do.

These are both good reasons why I myself am not in business.

Would this stop me from shopping there? Not likely, but it does make me not want to go ask them for help.

March 26, 2009

The Great Office War

by @ 4:56 am. Filed under Business, Personal

The Great Office War

I love this film, it’s totally cheesy but it makes me laugh.

(Direct Download link: Here)

March 24, 2009

One of my favorite commercials

by @ 5:17 pm. Filed under Business, Crime & Justice, Personal, Quotes, Secondlife, Technology

This text will be replaced

I just love the way they did this commercial. Took me forever to find a copy of it, it’s around 10 years old.

(Direct Download link: Here)

March 8, 2009

So long Circuit City

by @ 6:34 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Technology

An epic failure indeed.

Circuit City

Frankly I don’t think I ever bought anything there.

If I recall right they had terribly high prices and poor sales staff, they had a habit of firing old higher-paid folks and bringing in cheap staff with zero experience. Let’s all put them in the category of how NOT to run a business.

February 25, 2009

On work

by @ 6:53 am. Filed under Business, Personal

My co-worker recently sent out an email with the following in it:

“Something I have said for many years, if your job seems easy, you aren’t trying hard enough.”

I dispute this. As this comment stands it implies that no matter how hard you work you will never finish your tasks at hand. Furthermore it suggests that there is something wrong with being good at your work so that it is easy to accomplish a days work and that if that work is easy you simply should have been able to accomplish more.

I tend to go by the saying below:

“Work smarter, not harder”

This implies that the goal is to accomplish the work at hand in the most efficient and easiest method possible. Making sure that the attainment of the goal is the first priority, not the increase of the sweat on one’s brow in accomplishing that goal.

February 2, 2009

“Free” trade

by @ 4:26 am. Filed under Business, Politics

Alot has been made lately of the possibly “protectionist” agenda of the Obama administration.

Supposedly if we do not allow completely free trade with countries like China then it will be bad for the USA.

But how exactly? The only people I see losing out are the ones making millions in CEO positions because they choose to ship manufacturing off to where there are no worker rights and where wages are paid in cents not dollars.

I hardly see the current trade situation as “free”, in previous times we called it “exploitation”.

The need to bring jobs back to the USA to make things for US use and export to other nations is a basis of a stable economy.

January 29, 2009

NRA Wine Club?

by @ 4:50 am. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics

Now i’m not a big fan of everything the NRA stands for, but I am a believer in the principle behind the Second Amendment.

What I cannot fathom is the NRA “Special Offer” email I got today from their “Wine Club”.

I have to say it isn’t the most brilliant idea to pair a group of gun owners with alcohol (not to mention the fact that i’m sure 99% of them are beer drinkers with no interest in wine).

January 28, 2009

The truth about Somalia’s pirates.

by @ 7:11 am. Filed under Business, Politics

I stumbled onto this the other day, much of it was completely new information to me.

Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates

Some are clearly just gangsters. But others are trying to stop illegal dumping and trawling

Who imagined that in 2009, the world’s governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labelling as “one of the great menaces of our times” have an extraordinary story to tell – and some justice on their side.

Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the “golden age of piracy” – from 1650 to 1730 – the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage Bluebeard that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often saved from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can’t? In his book Villains Of All Nations, the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence.

If you became a merchant or navy sailor then – plucked from the docks of London’s East End, young and hungry – you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O’ Nine Tails. If you slacked often, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.

Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively, without torture. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls “one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century”.

They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed “quite clearly – and subversively – that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal Navy.” This is why they were romantic heroes, despite being unproductive thieves.

The words of one pirate from that lost age, a young British man called William Scott, should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: “What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirateing to live.” In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.”

This is the context in which the “pirates” have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a “tax” on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence”.

No, this doesn’t make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But in a telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali: “We don’t consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas.” William Scott would understand.

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won’t act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per cent of the world’s oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.

The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled, and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.” Once again, our great imperial fleets sail – but who is the robber?


January 22, 2009

The run on ammunition.

by @ 5:52 pm. Filed under Business, Personal, Politics

So Jennifer (still in Phoenix, AZ) and I were talking.

She said her boyfriend tried to buy some handgun ammo the other day, but couldn’t. Wal-mart, Big-5, Sports Authority were all completely sold out.

It’s obvious why, but what is interesting is it has not been mentioned in any news source anywhere.

January 6, 2009

Salesforce splatter

by @ 3:09 pm. Filed under Business, Technology

Seems that the giant “software as service” system Salesforce.com was completely down for around 45 minutes today.

What do you when you’re entire business had moved into the cloud, and then the cloud crashes?

December 27, 2008

Tethering trials

by @ 6:55 am. Filed under Business, Personal

Well, I finally got tethering to work between my Moto Q9m phone and my Ubuntu 8.10 Aspire One.

(For you non-techs that means I can get to the internet from my notebook computer using my wireless phone’s internet connection)

Speed isn’t awesome, but it’s not dialup:

December 25, 2008


by @ 5:05 am. Filed under Business

Do enjoy the holiday, brought to you by capitalism and the hyped need for massive materialism.

Don’t forget, spend, spend, spend if you want to be a good little American.

The real “Free Market”

by @ 5:01 am. Filed under Business, Politics

Free Market Pain

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