May 2011


Sarah Palin has already demonstrated a personal command of Facebook and Twitter as a means to communicate with her base and influence the political debate. She has 3 million fans on Facebook, many of whom are ready to donate, and volunteer. Does she need a professional campaign staff when she can call on this Army of Davids? Well, yes, but she doesn’t need troops on the ground, when this army is awaiting the call to action.

There are dozens of web sites that support her. Some of the most prominent are Conservatives for Palin, Texas for Palin and Sarah Palin Information blog. They keep her supporters up to date with everything related to Sarah Palin. Whatever she says or does, they broadcast, for free.

Open Source? What is Open Source? Open Source software is free software created by hundreds or thousands of software developers donating their time to creating professional-quality free software. Two great examples are Linux and Mozilla/Firefox.

Palin is going to use that model in her campaign. Her millions of FB faithful and Twitter followers will do the work of hundreds of paid political professional for free. Guess who wins that contest.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer is unhappy with Chinese software piracy:

Mr. Ballmer’s candid remarks provided a glimpse at the software giant’s struggle with piracy in what will soon be the world’s largest PC market. In China, copies of Microsoft’s core Office and Windows programs are still available on street corners for $2 or $3 each, a fraction of their retail price, despite efforts by the company to curb theft.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303654804576347190248544826.html#ixzz1NWGjYqCx

He should be more concerned with open source software, the encroachment on the PC marketplace by tablets, smartphones, and non-windows notebooks. I can get all the functionality I need from Microsoft Office for free from Open Office. It may not be quite as as slick as the latest and greatest from Microsoft, but it is as good as the Microsoft Office products my employer installs on my work PC.

My employer doesn’t like me looking at Facebook at work. No problem. Pull out my personal Droid and I can do FB without being monitored. Of course, I only do this while I’m waiting for my PC to build my application and start it up in design mode, which can take a few minutes. I can also check my personal email from my phone. Why do I need Microsoft Outlook?

My employer uses Lotus Notes. Someone sent out an April Fool’s message suggesting that we’d be switching to Gmail. I wish. Lotus Notes, as configured by my employer, archives my email after six months; Gmail keeps it forever. If I could figure out how to do it, I’d automatically forward all my work email to Gmail. Lotus is a competitor to Microsoft Outlook. Both face deadly competition from free web based Email services.

Apple recently passed Microsoft in market capitalization. In 2000, that would have been unbelievable. But it happened, and it happened because Apple diversified away from the PC business. They still make Macs, but they now use industry standard chips and an open source based operating system. Their real dough is in the iPad, iPhone, iPod and iTunes.

Just like IBM, Microsoft will survive. But it won’t be the industry leader, again, without a complete change in focus and leadership.

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The President of the United States made a much heralded policy speech in which he proclaimed that an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement should be based on Israel’s 1967 borders with “land swaps”. The Prime Minister of Israel came to the United States to plead his case for Israel. He beat Obama hands down, but he did it with class. He never disagreed with Obama and gave him far more credit than he deserved.

But he also highlighted the fact that the Palestinian Authority has allied itself with Hamas, which disqualifies it as a partner for peace. Hamas’ charter dedicates it to the destruction of Israel. One cannot negotiate with those whose only position is that you commit suicide. He also addressed the “right of return” issue by asking what rights the million Jews expelled by Arab countries  had.

Would that we had a leader like Netanyahu. The only contender that comes close is Palin.

On Lucianne the following two articles appeared together:

Asians 42 times more likely to
be held under terror law
Guardian [UK], by Vikram Dodd    Original Article
Posted By: Photoonist– 5/23/2011 10:34:03 PM     Post Reply
People from ethnic minorities are up to 42 times more likely than white people to be the target of a counter-terrorism power which allows the stopping and searching of the innocent yet grants them less rights than suspected criminals, official figures seen by the Guardian show.

and

Muslim gang launched horrific attack
on religious studies teacher
they did not want teaching girls
Daily Mail [UK], by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: Photoonist– 5/23/2011 10:29:55 PM     Post Reply
A gang of four Muslim men launched a horrific attack on an RE teacher because they did not approve of him teaching religious studies to Muslim girls, a court heard yesterday. Gary Smith, 28, was left with facial scarring, both long and short-term memory loss, and now has no sense of smell. He became depressed after his face was slashed and he suffered a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull and broken jaw following the attack

The politically correct establishment wants to bury the fact that Muslim extremism is an existential threat to the British way of life, and the Muslim extremists prove they are such a threat all too frequently.

It has never cost me so much to fill-up. Given my annual mileage and income, the $62 it cost me to fill up was not going to break my bank. But the guy filling up next to me was not so sanguine. To him, $4.oo gas was a major problem. “It’s costing me a week’s wages to fill up my car”. Perhaps he was exaggerating. But I bet he won’t vote Obama if he thinks President Obama is responsible.

Needless to say, the President, in his usual style, is doing all he can to reduce domestic production and increase foreign production. I think he calls it “spreading the wealth around”. He’s doing it on a global scale. 2012 can’t come soon enough. Drill, baby, drill is going to resonate with the likes of my gas station buddy.

I’ve been a Honda fan for decades, starting with the Benly 125cc motorcycle, through the first Accord, and finally, a 2010 EX Accord. I won’t be buying Honda again. The clutch master cylinder on my current Accord failed with less than a 1000 miles on the clock, leaving me stranded in game time traffic. Honda cared less about my plight so I no longer care for Honda.

I look at their Korean competition. Hyundai offers direct injection engines. Honda doesn’t. Hyundai offers six-speed autos and manuals. Honda is still stuck at five. Hyundai offers a fuel-efficient turbo for those who want more grunt. Honda sticks with a thirsty V6.

In these times of rising fuel prices, I’m looking to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle than my 27 mpg Accord. So, looking at a smaller car, I research the Honda Civic, the Ford Focus and the Hyundai Elantra. I go to one of my favorite car review websites, The Truth About Cars, and check out what they say.

The Honda Civic:

It’s hard to see how the 2012 car could have inspired any of this passion. It’s a little roomier, and its fuel economy is the best yet for a run-of-the-mill Civic (if not quite best-in-class). But the design is clunky, the materials are cut-rate, and the driving experience is so dreadfully dull that even a Toyota Prius is a blast in comparison. Over the past few years Honda has repeatedly claimed to have remembered what made it great, and to be returning to those roots. While they’re at it, they might want to pay closer attention to what GM, Ford, and Hyundai have been up to. Perhaps this has happened, just not quite soon enough to help the new Civic. If so, we’ll be able to look back on the 2012 model year as a low point, after which the cars got better.

The Ford Focus:

Overall, the new Ford Focus is very impressive, with the look, feel, and features of a premium car, but also very good fuel economy. By most metrics it’s the best car in an increasingly competitive segment. The Mazda3 remains more fun to drive, and the Elantra costs a little less. But most people care more about ride than handling, and will be willing to pay a little more for the Ford’s advantages over the Hyundai. The big question mark: reliability.

The Hyundai Elantra:

How affordable is it? The tested Elantra GLS with Preferred Equipment Package lists for $18,445. A Honda Civic EX, with virtually the same level of content, lists for $2.700 more according to TrueDelta.com’s car price comparison tool.  A similarly equipped Chevrolet Cruze LT? About $1,500 more before adjusting for remaining feature differences, and about $900 more afterwards. And the 2012 Ford Focus SEL? About $2,550 more before adjusting for remaining feature differences, and about $1,100 more afterwards. Compare invoice prices, though, and the Hyundai’s price advantage shrinks—to only about $500 in the case of the Ford.

Even a year ago the new Hyundai Elantra might have been the compact sedan to beat for the non-enthusiast buyer. But Chevrolet’s and Ford’s latest entries into the segment substantially raise the bar for materials, refinement, and seating. Hyundai has been moving fast, but for once Detroit (or, to be precise, its overseas operations) has moved faster. Hyundai promises to keep revising its products more frequently than other manufacturers do. The new Elantra provides a very good foundation for the next revision.

The very idea that a Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra would be considered serious competitors to the Honda Civic would have been laughable a few short years ago. Not any more.

Let’s look at a few more signs of Honda’s decline. The seventh generation (2003 – 2007) Accord in the US market had a scowling look from behind. Honda saw this as an issue and did a restyle that resulted in a much more elegant rear view. It matched the Accord Coupe, which was much more elegant.

The next generation Accord was perceived to have an unattractive butt. So Honda addressed the issue by tacking on a couple of cheap strips of crap that look worse than a tramp stamp.

Honda’s competition is moving to direct injection engines (better fuel economy, more power), with a turbo option for more power. Honda seems lost  on this.

Honda’s competition is also  moving to  six speed manual transmissions, six or more speed automatics, six speed auto manuals and efficient CVTs. Honda seems to be lagging in transmission technology.

I used to think of Honda as a leading edge company. Not any more. Even Ford (surprise) is ahead of their curve.

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