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Monday, September 29, 2008
HP IPAQ 910
Review: HP IPAQ 910
Several weeks ago, I purchased the Hewlett-Packard IPAQ 910 phone.
This phone runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and got great reviews from PC Magazine. In fact it was their Editor’s Choice.
The IPAQ is a business grade phone with full internet capability. As I found out, not all web browsing experiences are the same. It is much slower than my home DSL but faster than dial-up. Pages with fancy plug-ins or scripts don’t do well. I tried Opera’s mobile browser and it choked on the same websites. Hopefully the upgrades that Microsoft has in the pipeline for release will improve things. A new Internet Explorer should be out before Christmas and a major OS upgrade is planned for next year.
The Windows Media Player will play all my favorite songs on the 2 GB mini SD card.
The one thing I miss is my ability to listen to the radio. Many radio stations have websites and listen live buttons; however, these don’t work. Only the Salem Radio Network has an option to listen via Windows Media Player. After many searches and frustration I found a solution. There is a site that plays AM and FM stations from a variety of markets. Even though my local stations have dropped Laura Ingraham, I can hear her live on several stations. I can listen to Rush Limbaugh or just about any other syndicated talk show. The website is http://radiotime.com/mobile/index.aspx Simply enter a zip code to see programming in that area. (You can enter any zip code in the US not just where you live.)I use this site more than any other one on my phone.
Interestingly, you can exit the media player application and it will continue to play until you restart it and hit the STOP button. It will pause if you get a phone call and resume playing when the call is completed.
The GPS feature works well in areas with faster internet speeds; however, it takes several minutes to acquire your location. The GPS feature must be able to access Windows Live or Google Maps in order to display your location. There is a program available at extra charge that will make the IPAQ an honest to goodness GPS device.
The Internet usage is a big drain on battery life. The phone needs almost daily charging or a phone charger in your car to keep it going. You don’t need to buy the $30 HP charger. You can get a Motorola compatible car adapter that fits the mini USB plug on the phone. I got mine for about ten dollars at Fry’s.
The camera is billed as 3MP. There is a big delay from the time you press the camera button and the time it takes to capture an image. Almost a second passes between pressing the button and the image being captured. Still photos can be done. Photos of moving things are difficult to capture. This seems to be the weakest feature on the phone.
Lastly, buy a case for this phone. The molded plastic body is soft and scratches easily should you drop it from your lap onto a hard floor.
Programs for the phone seem limited compared to others but look for Microsoft to beef-up both the Operating System and variety of software over the next year. With both Apple and Google in the smart phone market they have to get into gear. (The IPAQ is technically a Pocket PC not a Smartphone.)
The phone has no contract and requires a data plan with your carrier. Check HP or PGMag.com for more info on the phone.
Taxpayers Not on Hook for Bail-out Yet
Congress defeated the “Wall Street Bail-out” earlier today. There’s too much government power grabbing to think it’s a dead issue. Maybe it will be less socialist next time it reappears.
My question with this whole issue is if this legislation passes in any form similar to what was voted on today, won’t it be a huge step toward nationalizing several sectors of business and making the federal government the biggest owner of residential real estate in the country? If this is true, how does it benefit us? Until several ranking democrats and CEOs are frog-marched to jail in handcuffs, I think the taxpayers should root for private sector solutions. Let these troubled companies sell assets and restructure before Congress starts writing checks.
Congress seems bent on doing economic brain surgery with a chain saw. Why not make the sausage in public so the process has openness instead of trusting Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi to write something in secret and then expecting YES votes before anyone can read it. The root problem with these financial issues is government mandates so why is the solution to intrusive government to get an even more intrusive government?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Drilling at Last
Congressional Democrats cave again and will let the 25 year old ban on off-shore drilling expire. Yahoo!
This is wonderful news. Now the states can decide the issue.
If only the socialists in California would see that this opportunity is a key component on the path to solving the debt problem in Sacramento. Why borrow lottery monies when you can get more debt free cash from drilling leases and royalties. (Of course if they come to their senses enough to allow drilling, they just might decide to tackle their spending addiction. )
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Obama Defends Record on Infanticide
Barack Obama has taken off after Gianna Jessen for accurately portraying him as voting four times to support infanticide while has was an Illinois Senator. Gianna is running her ad in two states, New Mexico and Ohio. Her ad is here.
When people point-out that the Democrat Messiah has no clothes he can’t take it.
Barack is so thin skinned that he trying like hell to avoid the light of truth on his record. At the same time, he is elevating these ads to nationwide prominence. This is making the life issue, front and center of the presidential debate at the very time that many voters are just trying to get informed about the election.
This gives Senator McCain and Governor Palin the wedge issue they need to both energize the Republican base while simultaneously illustrating just how radical and evil the policies of Obama really are. This is literally holding up the crucifix to the demons and watching them have a “Linda Blair” moment of national TV.
Obama is going down in flames and he knows it. Barry is about to learn the old proverb that “failure is an orphan.”
Friday, August 29, 2008
John McCain seems to have hit a homerun with his VP pick. Sarah Palin appears to be right on all the issues that Obama is wrong and she has more experience.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
ID Theft Using Batches of Credit Cards
You may be a victim of identity theft and not know it for years.
Most stories of identity theft are about individuals that try to get rich quick by impersonating you, stealing what they can and then go on to their next victim. I know people to whom this has happen. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars and endless months of heartache to repair the situation. We have all heard commercials about how long it takes to restore your identity if someone hits you with a full-blown attack and companies offering one million dollar protection policies to protect you from such violations but there is another form of theft that is more subtle. If you are not paying attention, it could go on for years.
There are crime syndicates that deal in large volumes of information that do things on a more subtle basis. Here is how it works. Suppose I stole fifty thousand bank account or credit card numbers. If I want a steady steam of money over a long period of time then what I do is charge each card for $3.95. I just stole $197,500 and chances are that you won’t notice. So four months from now I do it again. This time I use different company name and a slightly different amount.
Until you complain to your bank and they take the time to fix it I can do it over and over again. Meanwhile, I can get more names and numbers and add then to my list to replace the folks that do catch on to my scam. Since it’s such a small amount of money why should they hurry to correct the problem?
This happened to me and I complained to my bank. They listened attentively and then did nothing. Four months later it happened again and this time I was told that they could not fix it via phone or email (which is how I tried to resolve the problem last time). I was told that only by going in person to the branch could they help.
When I got to the branch, I had to go through the whole thing with the teller who I knew couldn’t help me but I still told my sad tale. She went to get the branch manager. After a time of conferencing and huddling around a computer terminal the branch manager came to speak with me. She told me that the charge was made via my ATM/VISA card; the one ending in XX. (Actual numbers omitted) I said but my card ends with SZ. Then she looked on the sheet of paper in her hand and said yes but there is this other number on your account that is active. As it turns out, the bank had three different card numbers associated with my account. They had my current card, my previous card which was shutoff and a third old number from years ago that had never been shutoff. This third number was the one the thieves were using. I was told that they would refund the money to my account. I’m sure the thieves will be keeping their money and the bank will have to write-off the portion that they refunded to me.
You might want to keep a closer eye on your account so this doesn’t happen to you.
Oh, the fraudulent charges, they were from Byersbooks, a company from New Jersey, that stole $2.95 and Avant Garde LLC, a company from Colorado, that stole $4.99.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Slow Joe for VP?
Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and the rest of the talk show conservatives are giving each other high fives as Barack Obama makes yet another stupid decision today. Going with Senator Joe Biden is such a dumb move that Obama is all but finished. The only prayer of winning that he has is if John McCain were tone-deaf enough to name a pro-abortion running mate.
Biden represents everything that is wrong with the current political establishment and he has more negative bagage than John Kerry. Any doubts that Obama is an elitist have vanished.
The only up side for Obama is that Biden has the capability of saying stupider things than he does, thus making Obama look better.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
What’s Next for Schwarzenegger
I heard an old preacher say that “when you get saved you don’t quit dancing, you just change partners.” Perhaps this explains the behavior of Governor Schwarzenegger. For the last few years he has been walking away from the Republican Party and squarely into the company of the Democrats. Maybe not the Looney Left, but clearly he has moved in their direction.
Yesterday, it was reported that Senator Diane Feinstein will not be attending the Democrat Convention in Denver. Today, I read that Arnold will be skipping the lovefest in the Twin Cities with John McCain. Yesterday, I also heard media accounts that the good Senator may not run for re-election but instead run for Governor in 2010.
Arnold and Diane are now at about in the same place politically now so why not? Rumors have been swirling for years that Arnold might run for Senate and here is his chance. No incumbent in the seat and large campaign coffers so why not? He can probably buy the office if he throws a few crumbs to the union thugs.
Therefore, look for Feinstein to switch jobs with Schwarzenegger in 2010. By then there will be a need for a new Kennedy in the Senate. The big question is what will Arnold’s political affiliation be in two more years?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Another Apple Phone
Apple has a new phone. Yeah, big deal. Who cares. It can’t multitask and it can’t cut n’ paste. What about Wi-Fi hotspots. Not with this phone. Who needs SD RAM?
There’s better phones out there but they don’t have the PR machine that Apple can fund.
Half the features, twice the price. That’s Apple marketing.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Armed Police Forbid National Anthem at Capitol
When Bureaucrats Attack!
California politicians do really stupid things on a daily basis. Usually they get away with their actions because most media outlets ignore their actions. Unfortunately for us, journalists forgot what journalism was intended to be several decades ago and instead of keeping both sides honest, they chose sides.
As a result, journalists that cover the State Capitol don’t tend to work very hard. They go get their batch of press releases at their building on 10th and L Streets and use them as the basis for their next round of submissions to their editors. Usually their stories are paraphrases of the press releases in their “IN” box. They occasionally will get an additional quote from someone in their rolodex to round out their 700 word essay on the days’ news. The reason every newspaper and television station have the same stories is that they use the same press releases from the same sources. It’s not a conspiracy, its laziness.
During the last few days, the silence in the local media has been deafening with regard to the treatment of my daughter and her friends at the California State Capitol. My daughter attended the City on the Hill Leadership conference last week. This is a hands-on series of workshops on how government works. Part of the time is spent in the Capitol building meeting with legislators.
Following a meeting with Senator Tom McClintock, her group went into the rotunda portion of the building and decided to sing the national anthem and God Bless America. It has been a tradition each year to sing during their visit to the Capitol. This time however, the group was stopped in mid song by armed members of the security detail for the capitol (officers of the California Highway Patrol) and told that what they were doing was illegal because they did not have a permit! They were threatened with arrest!
A series of press releases was sent to parents and others notifying them of this government action. The irony of a group of high school kids learning the wonders of American democracy and being told that exercising their freedom of speech would land them in jail is rich. Liberalism allows freedom of speech only when it agrees with them. (Better they learn the lesson well in their youth.) Locally, Eric Hogue led his show with it today and WorldNetDaily.com featured it today. New media will boldly go places to old media cannot enter.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Harder Than Being President
I have often heard that being President of the United States is one of the toughest jobs in the world. We’ve all seen the before and after photos of young candidates who leave office looking twice their age. After last night, I found an even harder job. Try being an apologist for John McCain in front of some true Reagan Conservatives.
It’s one thing to defend your own stupid statements, but to defend John McCain as a conservative candidate! That takes reality to places where no one returns without a huggycoat (straight jacket.)
This poor guy is a mid-level operative in the McCain campaign in California. He was telling us about the outreach they will be doing to conservative democrats and independents. They sort of forgot to include the outreach to get Republicans to cross over and vote for McCain.
This guy was defending McCain’s opposition to domestic drilling for oil and his stupid tax hike scheme disguised as “cap and trade” carbon credits. Yes, candidate McCain wants energy independence and he is a great fiscal conservative. What a load of steaming b.s.
Then we got to hear about whether McCain will take matching federal campaign funds. The bottom line, if Obama will, the he will. That’s true leadership? More like honor amongst thieves.
I think most people in the Republican Party would like to vote for McCain; however, it will be a very cold day in hell before we work for him. He has offered us nothing but contempt and offense. If he wants our help then he better throw us a big bone.
McCain is an economic fascist and Obama is a socialist. Some choice we have in November. As if to prove the point, today McCain talked of windfall taxes and the evils of corporate profit when addressing the rising cost of gasoline.
Monday, June 09, 2008
California Assembly Race Undecided After a Week of Counting
Sorry I have been gone from this blog for a while but I’m back now. It is now a week since the June 3rd primary in California. Yeah, the one without the top of the ticket candidates.
Amazingly, in this age of instant gratification and computer technology, one of the local races is far from over. California’s 15th Assembly District on the Republican side is far from decided. There were four candidates in this race. Between the four, they spent in excess of one million dollars for a job that pays only ten percent of that amount.
Once, a safe Republican district, the Fifteenth has seen the Republican registration advantage erode and at least on paper, the Democrats now out number Republicans in the District.
The two leading candidates are opposites in personality and temperament.
Robert Rao (pronounced Ray-oh) made his fortune as a car dealer. He had dealerships in several California cities. He is a self-made millionaire and mostly retired. He decided to enter politics because he was tired of the B.S. that bureaucrats and politicians keep mandating on the private sector. In short he’s mad as hell and decided that someone needs to do something. One day he decided that someone should be him.
Abram Wilson is a mellow guy that has been mayor of a mid-sized city in the East Bay Area. A veteran and former financial guy, Wilson is quiet and soft-spoken. He once managed portfolios worth tens of billions of dollars. He brought this expertise to his job as mayor and has worked wonders for his city. Wilson has decided that Sacramento could use someone with his fiscal background.
I have met with both men and decided to hitch my proverbial wagon to Rao. Wilson reminded me of the old Rodney King “Why can’t we all just get along” or George W Bush’ “New tone.” I felt that we need someone in Sacramento that will fight for us not find better ways to get along with Democrats. Arnold has been great at that for the past few years and Republicans are in worse shape now than before he took office as Governor.
Anyway, the ballot results per the Secretary of State’s website put Wilson up by 449 votes. The California Republican Party sent out congratulations to Wilson and so did defeated candidate Judy Lloyd. Better luck next time right? Wrong!
As it turns out, there are over 100,000 votes uncounted in the counties that comprise AD 15. A portion of these votes are in the district but how many?
Each of the four candidates seemed to have their bases of electoral majority. Wilson did well in Contra Costa country. Scott Kamena won in Alameda County. Judy Lloyd won Sacramento and San Joaquin Counties. However, Rao came in second in Alameda, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties.
Note to readers, the closer you get to Judy Lloyd’s home the lower she did. Translation, those that know her best voted for another candidate. The places were she underwent the least amount of scrutiny, were the ones that she did best in.
I started looking at the numbers on Wednesday (the day after the election). One of the trends that I noticed was that Rao beat Wilson 2:1 in Alameda and Sacramento counties. He and Wilson were about even in San Joaquin. It was evident that all of Wilson’s eggs were in one basket: Contra Costa. He did virtually no campaigning outside of his home turf.
The numbers that give Rao hope are the vote by mail ballots. Sacramento said they had over 66 thousand uncounted ballots. Contra Costa said they had about 22 thousand. San Joaquin had about 9 thousand. If Alameda has more than Contra Costa, then Wilson should be toast. Wilson has too thin of a margin to overcome 2:1 trends for Rao in Sacramento and Alameda.
By Friday, June 6th, Wilson’s lead had started to erode. He was down to 177 votes. At close of business on Monday, the lead for Wilson was down to 134 votes.
It appears that Contra Costa will be the first of the four counties to have all their votes totaled. Sacramento thinks they will have final numbers by Friday June 13. The big question is what is happening in Alameda County? I think by close of business on June 10th, Rao will be in the lead!
I will keep you posted.
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Update: Congratulations to Mayor Wilson on his Primary victory. 242 votes
Friday, March 28, 2008
Review: The Wiggles Live
There are a lot of creative ways that people have come up with to simultaneously market to young children and separate their parents from money. A pioneer in this field was Walt Disney. Walt entertained children and made a fortune doing it.
Much of the stuff geared to children finds its way into our homes via television. Some of this programming is entertaining to children but like constant fingernails scraping on chalkboards to their parents. Teletubbies and Barney come to mind in this category. Other programs are more like Pixar animation, geared for kids but with something there that adults can enjoy also. For me The Wiggles is in this more creative group.
Last night, my wife and I took our three-year-old son to see the 2008 version of their road show. The show entitled Pop Goes The Wiggles Live! was ninety minutes long and featured The Wiggles and all their friends: Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword. In addition there were many extras on the stage as well.
It was my first time to see Sam. He is the new Wiggle that replaced the ailing Greg. Sam was good. He knew his part and seemed comfortable with the other members of the group. His vocal range was close to Greg’s and he was able to sing and dance his way through the show.
What amazed me most was physical nature of the whole act. There was lots of running and jumping. In addition, The Wiggles exhibited limberness that would be expected more from Jackie Chan that a group of guys that sing silly children’s songs. Lets face it, the Wiggles are getting into middle age and yet they can do the splits and limbo! I would expect some of their moves from someone trained in ballet but not from some guys that majored in child development.
Some of the music they did was prerecorded but much of it was actually done live. Again, it was impressive. They did many of my favorite songs during the show. Can You Point Your Finger and Do the Twist, Fruit Salad and Rock-a-bye Your Bear. They also did an instrumental version of The Knack’s My Sharona. Big Red Car was the last number in the show.
Our seats were about forty feet from the stage. There was lots of audience singing and clapping. Many children brought roses for Dorothy (according to Wiggles lore, Dorothy eats roses) and there were a few bones for Wags the Dog. Some children brought handmade signs that they held-up during the show.
My wife and I enjoyed the show. However, it was a bit overwhelming for our three year old. He experienced sensory overload. He spent much of the show in my lap just playing with the Wiggles stickers that were in our seats when we arrived.
I would like to see The Wiggles again in about two years. By then I think my son will enjoy it more. If you have a chance go see them please borrow a kid and go. I think even my high school aged daughter would have enjoyed the show.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I’ve been paying close attention to the on going budget discussions as the California legislature gear-up for the annual budget fight. I would like to take the occasion of this blog entry to summarize my solution for this situation.
First, the estimates in the range of 14 billion dollars are lower than the actual numbers. If nothing changes this debt will expand exponentially. Structurally, the debt is much closer to 100 billion without any reforms. The lawmakers have so much automatic growth build into retirement, healthcare, education and other programs that the economy of the State cannot support the promises made thus far let alone deal with infrastructure and other needs created by neglect of elected officials.
While the legislature’s problems are all self inflicted, they are made even worse by the multitude of ballot measures passes in the last two decades that attempt to fix issues for which lawmakers have failed to provide leadership. Term limits and safe seats created by gerrymandered districts have also made the problem more pronounced.
Republican proposals offered this week to shift blame onto illegal aliens are a diversion that only nibbles at the edge of the fiscal mess. These ideas will not fix the fiscal mess we are in.
There is a large gap between what should happen and what is actually achievable in the current climate. I would like to deal with what is achievable. My idea is both a face-saving measure for the current leadership in both parties and also provides political cover from the political fall-out that will result.
The creator of the Dilbert comic strip wrote that there is a right way, a wrong way and the weasel way. I am skipping the other two options and heading straight for the weasel way.
The legislative leadership and the governor need to do the same thing the Congress did many years ago when Congress decided to start closing military bases; namely, they need to create a “Blue Ribbon” commission to craft an omnibus fix for the mess. It will be a combination of closing tax loopholes, instituting cost of living increases for departments of government not automatic double-digit increases (kill zero based budgeting), undoing budget allocations via previously passed ballot initiatives, raising voter threshold to enact any new budget mandates to a supermajority, restructuring state employee benefits and reforming the budget process to a two-year budget not an annual one.
The legislature will then need to swallow their pride and pass this thing before it gets too hot to handle. In military jargon, pull the pin, throw the grenade and run like hell the other direction. If this idea works take credit for it, if it blows-up in your face, blame to other guys. Remember, failure is an orphan but success has many fathers.
This fix will probably require a set of ballot measures to be fully enacted.
After everything is back on track, the people should enact a part-time legislature; after all, I did say the budget was every two years.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Hillary Rips-off Bob the Builder
Hillary Clinton is in trouble with children five and under for ripping-off the animated series Bob the Builder. As a parent of a small child, I know this to be true because Bob’s motto is “Can we build it? Yes we can!”
A central part of Hillary’s campaign is her theme that America is broken and only she can fix the ills of our country. Hillary is ambitious to do an extreme makeover of the United States. Hence her motto of “Yes we can!” This is obviously a rip-off of Bob the Builder. Where is Paul Shanklin when you need him?