CrispAds Blog Ads

Thursday, September 29, 2005


AnyLetter's Lament

Have I got a problem.  I just finished writing a paper for class in Writely.  Not only do I like it and it works, but I'd like to use it as often as possible.  It interfaces with Blogger much better than Office 2003 ever will.  Hell, I may just get rid of Office 2003, and just use Writely altogether.  Now I may have already mentioned this, but Writely doesn't work with Opera at all.  This is unfortunate, but also a way of life for third-party browser users.  I've gotten used to it, and don't care whether the problem is with Opera or Writely.  It's a problem, and I'll do what I have to do to work around it.  So I present to you Firefox.  Bleh.  Slow loading soviet era browser with the functionality of a cup of coffee.  It'll get you where you want to be, but not much more than that.  And yes, I can always add cream and sugar to my coffee, much like you can add extensions to your browser.  But it's still a cup of coffee (man, and I don't even like cream and sugar in my coffee).  But one thing Firefox does is AJAX. 

When I first started using Blogger, I'd use Firefox to post, but after that "break" I took in March (and got off of early this month), I got used to using Opera with it's limited functionality, or Blogger for Word.  Both did what I wanted, but right now I want more, I want something that makes Blogging easier, with a little bit more eye candy and functionality.  From now on I'm stuck with Firefox, though I pray that the boys at Opera get their stuff together and come out with better AJAX support (that is, if it's their AJAX support that is lacking, and not Writely's problem with coding for Opera users.  Shit's happened before, right Microsoft?).  So if my posts sound a little pissy for the next few hours, blame it on the Fox, okay? 



I'm trying out  Writely, and although it has a few bugs, it isn't all that bad.  There are three things in this world of ones and zeroes that I like, and that's office software (if you can name it, I've tried it), browsers, and AJAX applications.  Though I've got one problem, and that's the fact I can't have all three yet.  Sure, when Opera starts supporting Ajax, things will be wonderful and the world will find peace and all that crap, but until then I'm stuck.  Blogger is useless when running Opera (doesn't have the WYSIWYG functionality), so my options are to use Firething or Office 2003.  This puts me in another predicament, I have been using Openoffice for quite some time and have gotten used to it.  Damn, Office 2003 blows that program out of the water.  If for some reason you disagree, just compare load up times.  2003, while slow, still opens faster than Open Office.  Yet another problem with Open Source software, just takes too damn long.
So, you folks at Opera who may be paying attention, WYSIWYG, now!  Oh hell, I don't really need it.  What I need is Ajax support.  That way I won't have to install another piece of office software ever again.  To say Writely loads faster than either Open Office or Office 2003 doesn't give it justice.  And it works, well aside from the bugs, but that's to be expected for something that's still in beta.  So give this baby a try, it sucks a whole lot less than the other programs out there.


It even allows my links to be poppable, for all you poor poor IE users without tabs. You're welcome

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Carnival of Computing. Version 1.01

It's been quite a week for me, so if this week's Carnival looks a little light, well, it just might be. This is what I believe is the cream of the crop of Tech blogs for the past week, so be sure to take visit all of these people who make this happen. If you'd like to participate in next week's Carnival, just drop me a line (andrewhughes.1(at) and I'll get you hooked up. Also, there is a submission form here.

Niels Flensted-Jensen, writing for "Software Engineering in a Microsoft Environment".  He gives us an insightful post about Microsoft's Authorization Manager.

Alex Bending of Not Just Code vents about what many of us might be afraid to (though I doubt that).  What's going on with Microsoft's Service Pack Setup?  Three words, It's a Trap

I'd like to point out this post I put up after hosting two Carnivals over the course of a few's a little long, but I think it's one of the better posts I've written.

St. Hermann writing for complains about the recent quality drop in script kiddies.  Apparently, they seem to leave way too many traces.  Like that's a bad thing.    

Robert Scoble, one of my favorite Microsofties, discusses why he believes Windows Vista will be relevant in a web-services based world.  Here's one of the best written tech blogs out there.

Bruce Eisner’s Vision Thing has a post up about Six Apart’s (known for Typepad) "Project Comet".  He seems to remain somewhat skeptical of all the proposed features, though we’ll all see early 2006.

Michael Abraham, a contributor for "Killer Tech" writes that Windows is lagging in today's world.  Short but well balanced, coming from a guy who uses both Linux and Windows.

Dion at explains the key players in the War of the Web:  Revenge of the Dynamics.  impressively researched and explained, it’s well worth the read.

Christopher McLean, found at Randomly Geek, looks at the possible implications of the IFPI’s program that deletes p2p downloaded files.  

Michael Arrington of  Tech Crunch, a blog dedicated to reviewing and profiling Web 2.0 services and applications, reviews Attensa.

Ben and Dion’s Ajaxian reviews Yahoo’s Mail beta.  Of course, the review focuses on rich web applications, especially Ajax (no, really!).  Check it out.

JRoss gives us yet another detailed and easily read week in review.  It’s a bit longer than last weeks, but what a week it’s been.  The Carnival made topic number Three.

Ed Brill opens up discussion on a survey concerning Notes/Domino.  Turns out people who use it, love it.  Only problem is that it isn’t as widely marketed as perhaps it ought to be.    

Does Size Matter to Search Engines?  That’s what Mark W. Shead asks this week.  Personally, I think accuracy is the most important, so I’ve got to agree with his post.

Apparently this is the week of Ajax, because Open Synapse also has a post on it.  I’d say this is one of the better (if not intended) replies to Scoble’s post on why Windows Vista will not be overpowered by internet based applications.

Scott Clark of Everything USB announces Apricorn’s new USB Microkey.  From the review, it sounds like the product is a sure winner, being secure, durable and (relatively) affordable.

Charles Jade, one of the many writers for Ars Technica, gives us a scary reminder that not all of us in the ether are free politically.  Let this post be a reminder of not only how good we have it, but that there are big name companies here in the US and elsewhere that are catering in to the Chinese governments demands, in effect aiding in the people’s repression.

Over on WinSuperSite, Paul Thurrott gives an excellent review of the latest Vista build.  This differs from last weeks entry as Paul has had more time to work with the Operating System.

Scott Berkun wonders why programming isn’t taught as a case method.  College students should learn what they’ll be doing after college, not drowning in books and materials.  As a college student myself, I need to give him a “hell yeah”.  If only it would ever happen…

Asa Dotzler reached out to the Firefox community and provided a “short” Q&A session with readers of his site.  If you’re wondering which direction Firefox is heading,  and how it’s competing with other browsers, then this is well worth a read.

Susan Mernit wants to remind all of us that Web 2.0 isn’t just RSS.  Remember that, IE7 developers, ok?

As I May Think’s Bob Wyman comments on Technorati’s Doc Searls’ article on  Googles new Blog Search feature.

Shoe, the Linux Librarian, gives us (surprise) a book review.  Linux Made Easy gives noobs a  walk through with Xandros (my flavor of choice).

TipMonkies’s Martin Ferretti wants to let the average Firefox user know that there is now a package of the most vital FF extensions.

Bruce at Conservative Cat reminds us that in the wake of the recent hurricanes, phishing is on the rise.  Be skeptical, phishing can happen to anyone.  A friend of mine fell victim to it a few months ago, and the trouble she went through…well, I don’t want it to happen to any one else.

And because I don't mind nepotism, if you're into Anime, check out my friend April's Blog

That's it for this week, hope to see you next Thursday. Take care, all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Wonderful Weather

We’re expecting a cold front coming in this weekend.  This is great news because:

  1. Cold fronts keep the hurricanes away

  2. I’m from New Jersey and it is way too damn hot here in Louisiana.

I can’t wait, time to break out my nice clothes.


Early Monday morning I was awfully excited about receiving my 6,000th page load, as well as my 4000th unique visitor.  That’s changed quite a bit since yesterday.  Yeah, right now I’m on the verge of having my 10,000th page load, and my 7, 000th unique visitor.  Damn.  What a week, if by week you mean a couple of days.  I’m excited about Thursday, and I promise that it’ll look better than last week’s.  I hope all you that I’ve linked to the other day benefited from this as much as I have.

Today, I’m taking a deserved (I think) break from blogging.  Though I’ve got one more post I’d like to get to before that happens.

On Carnivals, Capitalists, and Technophiles

By Thursday I’ll have entered three Carnivals (two Computing, one Capitalist).  I’m amazed at how well received the Computing Carnival has gone, especially with Robert Scoble and Instapundit (you are both “the men”) have helped.  But this isn’t the topic of the post, is it?  No.

Today I got two Instalanches.  Check out wikipedia’s deffiniton of a Slashdot Effect if you’re unsure of an Instalanche.  Basically, it’s when someone with tons more web traffic than you has a link to your site, sending their traffic to you.  

I was astounded earlier today.  You see, I proposed to Jay at Accidental Verbosity that due to a “communications error” (read someone hijacked somebody else)  I’d be more than willing to host the Carnival of the Capitalists (“CotC” for the uninitiated).  The other emergency blogger (whom I belive has taken the 10/31 responsibility), couldn’t make the time, so there I was, two Carnivals, three days.

Not ten lines into writing CotC, I noticed that I was in the middle of an “Instalanche”.  All day I had been going through a “Scobleanche” (and it would be rude for me to not link to Robert Scoble) so I thought nothing of it.  

Then I got pissed.

Why?  I was afraid someone had figured out the link to my draft of CotC, gave it to Glenn Reynolds, and that Glenn let it run.  I took a moment and noticed the URL:  Carnival of Computing.  Holy Shit!  Glenn got to it a few days late, but noticed my new Carnival!  Then the good old Catholic guilt came over me.

Two Instalanches in one day.  Doesn’t someone out there desrve more attention than I?  It’s been months since I’ve given an actual update to my sight, when out of nowhere I return due to living through Hurrricane Katrina.  And to this!  Popularity?  Probably not.  Just someone with a few good ideas at the right time.  

Though I may be close to “Carnival”ed out, Thursday will see another Carnival of Computing.  Earlier I thought it was nearly ready, but remembering what it’s like to host the CotC, it isn’t nearly enough.  Not enough participants, not enough depth, you name it, it’s lacking.  If you frequent a site that deals heavily in technology (or even if it’s some guy/gal who writes about something tech oriented once a week) have them (or take it upon yourself to) get in touch with me.  

The people that I try to highlight with the Carnival of Computing are both qualified and little known.  They need the traffic even more than I (and I’m not going to lie, I need the traffic), though if someone must be a catalyst and dedicate a few hours of their week to find them, then I am proud that it’s me.  Do the right thing, everyone.  Click an ad on their websites.  Email them to let them know their strengths/faults/logic/illogic.  In the past two weeks, the number of people I’ve reached out to, and who have reached out to me, have been astounding.  I ask you to make new friends, discover new people who share similar tastes, even if it be a hobby.

As I’ve learned from hosting the Carnival of the Capitalists, there is so much information people showcased in the Carnival of Computing can learn, and vise versa.  We need to hold each other in high regards, we Capitalists and Computerists (*note to self:  do not make up words).

*To Capitalists:  do you want another technology bubble burst or not?  To say that Technologists are uninformed and uneducated as to how the economy as a whole works is an apparent understatement.  As a member of both groups, I urge you to get in touch with someone on the tech side of the spectrum.  Remind them not only of how important their job is to you, but as it is to the world (Wikipedia, Firefox, Opera, and a host of others must be mentioned here!).  A capitalists sees the benefits to alliances, and as far as the 21st century goes, these are the most important.

*To Technologists:  don’t get arrogant, especially you Open Source folks.  There are ways of providing jobs to those who are qualified whether or not you’re an Open Source parent or a Closed Source program’s employee.  While I’m happy to see a balance between both the OSS and CS religions, we need to work together, amongst ourselves, before we become close to considered as non-volitale to investors, as well as Venture Capitalists.  

Together we can make a difference, especially in these modern times.  Divided we will never achieve the heights that we are destined to attain, nor will we ever find a common ground (only finding each other in contempt).

Not all Capitalists are M$ types, and not all Technologists are Ubuntu/Gentoo/OSS fanatics.  And even if we are, we can yet see eye to eye.  If we differ politically, socially, or otherwise, let us at least be mature enough to see beyond that, and form a strategic alliance that is due for a rebirth.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Let's Have a Carnival (of the Capitalists)

This weeks Carnival of the Capitalists seemed to run into some problems, communication or otherwise.  But!  It is here, and it’s wonderful (as always).  Mostly familiar names this week, however we’ve got a few new people, insofar as I can tell.  If you want to participate in next week’s Carnival, the best way is to use this submission form, and if you want to participate in my Carnival of Computing, contact me in the comments section.  However, enough about all this, let’s get started.  We’re running late as it is.

Note:  These are in no particular order, I’m sorry.  Time constraints being what they are…

Don Surber submits to us that the Washington Post has had a reality check.  Taking a look at the War on Poverty, and how much things have gotten better in the last few decades.

Clyde Smith at Pro Hip Hop asks the question:  When did selling out become cashing in?  He discusses the notion that hip hop has sold out by emphasizing material gain in light of the entrepreneurial roots of rap music.

The recent incident of Jet Blue Flight 292 made Josh Cohen think about pilots, airplanes, flight crews, and bankruptcy rulings.  Check it out.

Rosanna, who writes for Virtual Assistant Connection, states that when you aim to exceed your clients' expectations instead of merely meeting them, you lay a strong foundation for your relationship with your client.

Yvonne DiVita at Lip-Sticking gives us a sneak preview of the New Gap website. There are some good points and some not so good points. And why they almost get it...but, don't, when it comes to marketing to women online.

Marketing Roadmaps’s Susan Getgood discusses Joss Whedon's TV series Firefly and the upcoming film Serenity as an example of how customers (fans) can affect "products" when they mobilize. In the case of Serenity, they made, and continue to make, a difference.

Free Money Finance answers the question: can I afford to quit work and stay at home with my kids?

Mr. Satire lets us know that the authorities at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam have reduced the spillage of urine by 80% by etching a house fly in the bowl of the urinal.   "If a man sees a fly, he aims at it.  This has helped us save a lot of money on cleaning," said the airport spokesman.  News really does imitate satire, doesn't it?

Henry Stern of InsureBlog explains that Employee Assistance Programs have come into their own.

Sarah Lewis gives a thorough overview of tax lien certificate investing for the uninitiated.  Really worth the read.

Sun Microsystems thinks it's the next Apple Computer.  Maybe, maybe not.  But David Daniels gives a checklist of things to do for those companies wanting to be the next Apple.

Gavin Bowman has shared a great perspective on common mistakes which small businesses make and better ways of addressing the underlying needs.  CodeSnipers is a group blog with approximately 10 sharp people from all over the world.  Read it today!

Barry Welford runs The Other Bloke's Blog, and he asks:  Heave Jeeves or Leave Jeeves.

Political Calculations’ Iron Man asks if earnings growth in the energy sector is really "sucking all the air out of the room" as Barry Ritholtz suggests? Political Calculations notes that it's all in how you look at it.

Random Thoughts from a CTO has another one.  When you get praise as a manager from those that you manage, how do you feel about that?  This post explores his personal feelings and sees if there are others who feel the same way as I do.

The Stalwart Joseph Weisenthal discusses the trend in industry, whereby market-share is increasingly going to the premium and discount players in the market...specifically it looks at the Airline industry as a case study.

Jim Logan lets us know that a couple weeks ago he posed a hypothetical situation where you’re given 30 days to secure two new clients. You have a budget of only $1000. You work alone. What would you do to win the two new clients?  Here’s what he did.

Jim, the BizInformer, published a post titled The Greatest Sales Mistake Ever Made. In that post he highlighted what he claimed was the greatest sales mistake he’s seen in his career. He was wrong. What was highlighted then was big, but in no way is it number one.  This is.

Peaktalk explains the downsides of implementing a flat tax.

Searchlight Crusade’s Dan Melson gives us some insight to Petroleum and Energy.

Professor Bainbridge uses the controversy over Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's sale of HCA stock to explore some issues in the law of insider trading, especially focusing on the question of whether liability for insider trading is based on trading while in possession of or trading on the basis of material non-public information.

Mediterranean Cruise’s Greg Manter gives some insight on the interesting cruise industry, with recent statistics and trends.  Looks like smooth sailing from here on out.

James Hamilton of EconBrowser tells us that last week; Cato Institute researchers warned of a looming budget disaster if strong measures such as cutting the budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in half were not taken. On Monday, NASA chief Michael Griffin unveiled a new $104 billion plan for sustained human exploration of the moon by 2018 as a preparatory step for getting people on Mars. Here's his suggestion for how to explore space without breaking the budget.

Roth & Company Tax Updates lets us know that a new case illustrates the dangers of using short-term loans to obtain basis in an S corporation.

Blog Business World wants you to turn your blog into a high powered Google Hub Site.

Consumerism Commentary suggests that you raise your FICO credit score.

Frank Scavo, who writes for The Enterprise System Spectator, explains why new and innovative software vendors can still prosper, in spite of the vendor consolidation underway in the software industry.

Barry Ritholtz gives us the Big Picture.  There’s no inflation except inflation.  Read it if you’re as confused by that as I was.

The MedSim Blog’s Del Dhanoa tells us that as new weblog networks spring up and boast earning a million dollars a year, he can't help but notice history repeating itself. And when the economics pan out the implosion of the blogosphere will occur.

The Worker Bees Blog explains that a surprising number of people in the social media and software space believe that tools such as blogging are already "mainstream." Elisa Camahort disagrees. She thinks it's important to have a realistic view of where we are to communicate with and help people outside our own industry bubble to understand and adopt these powerful tools.

Paul Smith of Freedom's Fidelity proposes a simple audit system of checks, balances, and third party verification. This is what businesses, especially publicly traded companies, have been doing for ages. Transparency is the quickest route to credibility; those actually interested in science - rather than an agenda - ought to encourage such reforms.

Big Picture, Small Office says that if time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once, then the endless meetings in The Small Office is a way of keeping anything from happening at all.

Patri Friedman of Catallarchy, a software engineer at Google, describes the mechanisms underlying the company's internal prediction markets.

Wordlab’s Abnu says Save My Ass.  NOT save my ASP. is a personal assistant that keeps your girlfriend or wife happy by sending her flowers on your behalf. The perfect high tech solution for a busy CIO.

Brian of Financial Reference gives advice on overcoming the fear of investing during recent market conditions.

If you want to know how understanding and applying Proctor & Gamble's latest marketing emphasis can improve your own online business, read this by Kicking Over My Traces.

Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog has an urban plan for New Orleans.

Evelyn Rodriguez gives us this post:  Triggered by a speech by venture capitalist Joi Ito at the Accelerating Change 2005 conference, we look at a few business models that give away free trials and/or rely on a new take on the old patronage model in an age where attention is a form of currency.

Ankesh Kothari of Marketing eYe gives some Dos and Don’ts for creating powerful taglines and slogans.

What do the markets of Gaza tell us about the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza?  Soccer Dad’s David Gerstman thinks he has the answer.

This post is a “reverse fisking” of the “Stuck on Stupid” press conference – analyzing what Gen. Honore did RIGHT as a communications strategy from Jack Yoest.

David Foster of Photon Courier tells of innovation in three "old technology" industries.

Michael Cale, writing for Financial Methods says the Fed could have taken a pause in its campaign to raise interest rates in order to assess the economic impact of Katrina.  One reason that the Fed did not pause is that economic data revisions released in July show more inflation in the economy than previously believed. So the Fed now realizes they are further behind than they thought.  Expect further increases in interest rates.

Andrew Hughes of Anyletter (wait, that’s me, isn’t it() describes the pros and cons of OSS and CS software, especially in regards to their financial goals.  

Mad Anthony writes that confused real estate columnist can't understand why there aren't more foreclosures in places where real estate prices have climbed.

Interested-Participant says that in five-hour shifts, six picketers toting anti-Wal-Mart signs try to keep cool as they walk back and forth outside a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. They are allowed two 15-minute breaks to run across the street and use the washroom at a gas station.  Check it out here.

Brian Gongol explains that we could control urban blight and help stave off the tremendous costs of reconstruction after disasters by requiring that all new construction be bonded to a long-term investment in its own demolition.

George of Fat Pitch Financials focuses on the recent SEC vote allowing small companies more time to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.  He explores the impacts of this decision on arbitrage opportunities in stocks that are planning to "go private" to avoid Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

Martin Lindeskog gives some thoughts on product life cycle management software and how it could be integrated in business management systems in the future.

Balanced funds are very good for the instant diversification of assets in different asset classes. The most important thing Moneywise believes is they help an investor to do is 'buy low and sell high'.

Many are predicting the devaluation of the dollar, but Fred Fry does not hear what is likely to happen when/if this happens, so he took a stab at documenting who might be affected.

On discussing the recent sentencing of Tyco execs and comparing it to rapists, John Bambenek finds that apparently corporate fraud (to most people) really is worse than rape.

Different River offers some fat in the budget -- butterfat to be precise; that is, the federal milk price support program, in which the federal government spends taxpayer dollars to buy milk (standardized to 3.67% butterfat!), which it throws away to keep the price high.  Taxpayers who paid for this milk that went down the drain -- if they have any money left -- have to pay inflated prices for milk and milk products.  Those who can't afford the high prices are given WIC and food stamps -- and taxpayers have to pay for that, too.

That’s it for this week.  Check out DrakeView next Monday for the next Carnival of the Capitalists.


No Carnival of the Capitalists up yet…Turns out that this week’s host didn’t realize that he was hosting it.  As I always look forward to many Carnivals, this one is my favorite.  I’ve contacted the gentleman who organizes this feat, Jay at Accidental Verbosity, and it sounds like one way or another, the Carnival will run today.  Keep an eye out for it, Instapundit usually links to it right away.

So Long, Funny Man

Looks like Don Adams has passed (here's a link).  One of the funniest guys in 60’s television, known as Max Smart in Get Smart, as well as Inspector Gadget.  Kind of feels like a part of my childhood has died.  RIP

4000 Unique Visitors

I had my 4000th unique hit just a few minutes ago.  Thank you Google blog search for referring…someone from Opera?  Yeah, gotta be, says so right there,  I’m not sure why, maybe because it’s late, but I find that to be terribly funny at the moment.  Although I can’t say why blog search redirected them to my Avant review, especially since I’m deeply unsatisfied with the post (to be fixed…um…later today).  Now I think it’s time for bed.  At least I hope so.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


That's a Wrap

So I actually did plenty of school work after I pulled myself away from my blog.  I forgot how addictive this can be.  In all honesty, most of the site work I did today was getting a draft ready for the Carnival of Computing v1.0.1.  This weeks looks to be just as good as last, if not better (getting in touch with bigger names this week), but we’ll see.  

I’m off to bed, no school tomorrow, so I’ll get some more time in then.  Although that may be a tad bit dangerous.  Two days of heavy blogging?  Looking at today, I need to focus more on quality than quantity.  See you tomorrow, then.

oral sex

Blogger for Word

So here I am posting from Microsoft Word from now on.  Hopefully this gets rid of those pesky little spelling errors.  Take that, OpenOffice.  If you use Blogger and have MS Word, I do highly suggest Blogger for Word.  Doesn’t make anything much easier, but that little box in blogger gets hella annoying after a while.  So if you want something new, give it a try.


What’s that?  Sure, I really ought to do some studying, and I’ve got a moderate ammount of homework (that isn’t entirely done).  Good thing I don’t have class tomorrow.  Though I’m not entirely sure why, part of it probably has to do with the rescheduling of Saturday’s football game to tomorrow.  Heh, if you weren’t convinced that this state was backwards, now you know.  We have a day off thanks to a football game.  I can’t wait until I graduate and get out of this place.


So I run the installer, and before Avant opens up, you’ll never believe what happened.  The thing asked me what size icons I want and where I’d like the tab bar.  Now there’s something I can get behind, customization right out of the box.  Why doesn’t any other browser do this?

Unfortunately for Avant, even with the smaller icons, the User Interface is still relatively bulky.  Granted, it isn’t Maxthon bulky, but it’s still an eyesore.  Actually, and I feel relativley secure in this assertion, but Avant is doing way too much Maxthon.  May as well be the same program.  So, if you want my review on Avant browser, check out my review on Maxthon.  

But that’s a cop out, isn’t it?  So let me get started here.  Avant is yet another IE shell, relying on the Internet Explorer rendering engine while improving functionality.  It’s a bit more complex than Maxthon, though the learning curve isn’t so steep that even someone new to third party browsers will be lost.  After I customized the UI, it’s almost sleek.  It feels a little dated, and reminds me a bit of Opera 6 and 7.  Actually, this is a great place to mention that Avant was “originally a clone of Opera with the Internet Explorer engine, Avant offers many options present in Opera, which do not exist in the standard Internet Explorer”.  Found that here thanks to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s most wonderful creation, Wikipedia.

Avant is in no way easy on the RAM, and I’d have to say that’s its downside.  If you’ve got too many windows open within Avant, watch out or your system is going to slow to a crawl.  All in all a decent program, but it tries to hard to be Opera and Maxthon, and it just doesn’t work.  Hey, if you want Opera, click on this wonderfully supplied link.  And you know, if you want to try Maxthon, it’s over here.  

If for some reason you want them both with a bit more functionality, but also a bit more confusing, check out Avant Browser.  It won’t kill you.  I promise.

Whatever Makes You Happy!

Before I get to my review on Avant, let’s get this idea out of my head and out in  the ether.  

Does the quality of one’s life translate into economic wealth?

Yes/no.  First, we need to examine the meanings of the terms.  And this is where it gets hard.  See, all of this is completely subjective.  What translates into a higher quality of life for me may not conform to yours.  Free will sure does make life interesting, eh?  Economic wealth is easily defined:  money and things, simply enough.  

As far as I can tell, Bill Gates has both quality of life and economic wealth.  He and his company donate billions of dollars a year.  He may be a ruthless businessman, but hey, it seems to work.  And if that’s what makes him happy, it’s understandable that he has considerable wealth and that his company stays at the top of the heap.  Evil genius?  I doubt it, the guy may be smart, but evil, not even.  

But then you’ve got these monks who refuse material wealth and seek a better life.  Considering most (if only barely) of you people coming here are Americans, our national mindset generally equates materials with quality of life.  So why are these guys and gals so damn content?  They’re not wealthy economically, but you can’t deny they’re rich.  

What are we doing wrong here?  Are we so driven to make a buck we can’t stop and do something that makes us feel good?  One could arguably say that if you just stopped and smelled the roses, so to speak, you’d find a way to make that buck turn into two.  Sure, you may give that extra dollar away, or maybe half of that dollar, but you still came out ahead, didn’t you?  Sit back, relax when you can.  Though understand that relaxation isn’t idling (that doesn’t seem to get you anywhere).  Be active, be happy, that’s quite a bit more important than making money.  

Oh, don’t give me the excuse “but I’ve got mouths to fee”.  Sure, you very well may, but won’t it make you happy to ensure that your wife and kids have as good a life as possible?  I don’t expect everybody out there to run off to the mountains and reach nirvana.  

You need a day off.  Who knows, maybe you’ll come out ahead financially.  But how much does that matter in the long run.  You can’t take it with you…

Didn't Think I Was A Nazi

And I was right! Or left. Yeah, something like that.

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(88% permissive)

You are best described as a:


You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness. loc: (18, 143)
modscore: (53, 33)
raw: (5231)

Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Not surprising, but interesting.  This is one of the more accurate political tests I’ve taken, so if you want to give it a try…

The Swiftness of Divine Retribution

You know, I feel rather bad about the people affected by Rita. However, there's one person who may have deserved it. If you remember a certain ex of mine (check out March 2005 archives, but then again, don't), she was in Beaumont (probably). Karma's a bitch, isn't it Amy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005



Next Thursday (though I may pull it to either Monday or Tuesday) will be the second Carnival of Computing. If you or someone you know is interested in getting a link out, just shoot me an email at andrewhughes.1 -at- gmail com. This week's took about 4-5 hours finding the links and contacting everyone, so I'm crossing my fingers that some may come to me next week. Though I doubt I'll be holding my breath. Oh! And I'll start talking Economics, too, for those of you who used to come here for that.

Well Color Me Surprised

About the last thing I expected after publishing my review on Maxthon was an email from a Maxthon employee. Netanel Jacobsson, SVP and Partner of Maxthon emailed me to let me know that the company is working on changing around the User Interface, and that we should be expecting a major update which will add to this already feature rich program. Features may include optimization for bloggers and social networkers. This sounds altogether promising, and although I'll remain an Opera user, I'll probably spend some time with Maxthon as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Carnival of Computing

Welcome all to the first Carnival of Computing. It's taken some time to gather all of these, and I think I've found some of the best out there, covering all aspects of Technology. It's been a fairly busy week. We've got roundups of PDC 2005, a few reviews of Microsoft and Windows Vista, and Opera went free. Google might start a program with free wi-fi, and a few more security flaws in Firefox have been uncovered. Let's take a look...


Ian Chiu at Everything USB describes how Windows Vista's performance will increase with the use of a Flash Drive, using a technology called "SuperFetch". Check it out Here.

Jross of RossCode gives us his weekly roundup, covering everything from rumors of Ebay in talks to aquire Skype to the ongoing war between Google and Microsoft. Great "week in review type stuff. Visit it here.

Jacqui Cheng and Clint Ecker give us a great review of the iPod Nano over at Ars Technica. Also provide are some great images, including the effects of Ms. Cheng and Mr. Ecker's rigorous testing.

Ben, after hearing of NASA's plan to return to the moon by 2017, thinks he can beat them to the moon. Rather funny post.


One of the benefits of hosting this thing is I get to go first in the software side :P. I give a lenghty review of the pros and cons of Closed and Open Source Software.

Mike Gotta, who writes for Collaborative Thinking gives us some insight to PDC 2005 One Week Later. Pretty good post, even if you're one of those anti-M$ types.

And continuing our Microsoft meme, we've got Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check. He reports that Microsoft is preparing to realign for the Next Wave of Innovation and Growth.

Paul Thurrott of SuperSite for Windows gives a great review of Windows Vista Beta 1. Providing some Screenshots, which are always a plus. It's in three parts, just as a warning.

Scott Berkun a former developer for Internet Explorer, switched to Firefox last week. Berkun goes on to explain the User Interface faults in both browsers, and makes a strong argument for Firefox's superiority (not that that's hard).

Asa Dotzler, Quality Assurance coordinator for Mozilla Firefox, responds to a former IE developer's switch to FF. Scott Berkun's post is linked above.

Dwight Silverman of TechBlog gives us a variety of articles reviewing Internet Explorer 7 Beta. Mixed reviews abound.

Sionide gives us a great review of the new Open Office Beta. A wonderful review of a great (and free) product. Nothing like giving Microsoft a run for its money.

We've got a few posts on Yahoo's new web based Mail, and Charlene Li gives us our first look. She points out that it's ease of use puts Gmail to shame, especially with it's client-like functionality.

Weez at The Nerdarium reminds us that Firefox Beta 1 is out, and he brings us a "Mini-Review". I agree with his suggestion that if you can get by without all your extensions, make the switch.

Martin Ferretti writes for TipMonkies and tells us of his time spent with Google Talk. Personally, I don't think Google Talk will be ready until it's more widely used, but this is a great first step. Look at the bottom of Martin's post for some usefull tips (hence the site name) on improving Talk's usability.

Continuing our focus on Instant Messenger clients, Michael at Open Source Review talks about my personal favorite, Gaim. Be sure to venture through his site to find other great "Open Source Reviews".

Paul Ritchie gives us a review of Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1. I must say, it's rather well balanced, but consider that IE is considered by many to be a flawed product. Any improvement is a welcome improvement.

Covering two topics at once, Pallab criticizes Opera's lack of support for Yahoo's new web mail. Sounds like Yahoo is pulling a Gmail and ignoring the Opera Web Browser.

Dave Aiello at CTDATA explains his switch from Red Hat 7.2 to Fedora Core 1. Check it out here.

Shoe at Linux Librarian discusses using Xandros in the workplace. I know that if I didn't have to rely on Windows so heavily, my OS of choice would be Xandros.

Bob Wyman of As I May Think writes about Google's Blog Search. Best quote is "First Microsoft "validated" the blogosphere by declaring that RSS/Atom would be an integral and important part of Windows Vista/Longhorn. Now, Google has validated the syndication system by providing us with a solid retrospective search capability. This space is soon to explode! The fun will continue."

Bussiness Side

Susan Mernit explains why it may be in Google's best intrest to bid on AOL. Especially in light of Microsoft's proposed bid. Yet another great story on Microsoft and Google's ongoing war.

Ed Brill explains how WinFS reminds him of a past statement by Steve Ballmer. Made in 2000! Read it here.

Opera is Free (now with writing goodness)

So yesterday I was a little lazy, didn't post much, and what I did post sucked. Big time. I can admit it. But hey, Opera's free, so everything is good. Right?

This puts Opera ASA in a very peculiar position. It's income from the desktop browser was getting smaller and smaller, and it was time to do something. But, the company gets income from it's built in search, from Google and other companies. How much, I couldn't tell you, but enough to justify pulling ads out of the program and relying on just the search income. Now, with Opera being free, we should see a surge in usage. More people using it means more income coming from Google (supposedly, we'll see). Add to that the fact that most of the company's income comes from it's mobile browser, and you've got a fairly profitable company. That's why I love this browser, not only does it work well, but the people who work on it are rather enjoyable, and the company seems to know exactly how to spin PR.

8.50 is out, and it's been fixed up some. "Feel Free." Now we wait for "Merlin". Who knows what will come with Opera 9, but I sure sounds like it'll be revolutionary.

No ads. Better browsing

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

I'm very proud that I write politics seldom. Even if I suffer from lack of traffic, it feels good to not be either a political blog or an angsty blog. But I gotta say something. I hate the republican party right now. And I claim to be one...weird. You see, I pride myself on being an intellectual conservative. I have great friends who are liberals, and I can't seem to stand other republicans. My problem is I can sum up the Republican Party in two groups: it feels like there are 5% intellectual conservatives, based purely on personal philosophy and life experiences. Then there's the 95% "God tells me to vote republican" types. These aren't republicans, they're leaches, and they're hurting the party. If these people could break away from the party, I'd be very very very happy. They don't seem to understand American politics, or why they're voting, aside from "Bush is a religious man". Ignore the fact that Kerry probably was, also. Insufferable, ignorant pricks. And I have to share this party with them. Bleh. Makes me wonder why I even participate in American politics sometimes. And you can't talk to these people, or at least I can't. They're not up for debate (they're right, no matter what, cuz God told them so, and they have guns to back them up). And they keep fucking! All these little homeschooled backward children running around, inheriting their parent's views.

Maybe the intellectual liberals and intellectual conservatives can break away and create our own party. We typically get along pretty good, even though we disagree. Ah, if only the world were perfect.

Closed Versus Open Source

Opera going free has obviously restarted this age old argument, "What's better, Closed or Open source?" Well...both. Yes, it sounds like a cop out, and that maybe Andrew is trying to avoid getting any flak (got friends on both sides). But let me give you the pros and cons of each, and maybe you'll see where i'm coming from.


The Arguments

Inherently more secure. Yeah, I said it, and I believe it. Look, closed source can have security holes out the ass, but developers getting paid typically have more incentive to solve those problems. People who live and die by the dollar don't have much of a choice than to constantly fix their product.
You have product that are either so large, so complex, or so secure of their superiority that development seemingly ceases. And you people thought I'd go easy on Microsoft. Right. Though CS is inherently more secure, by virtue of its widespread use it will be exploited. I don't believe that Windows is more secure than, say, Fedora Core, yet so many people are on Windows machines rather than Fedora that someone who wants to exploit a large group will obviously choose to screw over the Windows machine rather than the Fedora machines. Microsoft's only choice is to provide as many updates as possible, and even those seem to be exploited sooner or later. Also look at IE, it's problem isn't that it's less secure than other browsers (or at least it wasn't in 2001), it's that the time between updates is so long that by the time it's patched, another problem crops up. MS can't seem to keep up with IE, and I say they should scrap the whole thing. But that's just me.

CS also gives us the promise that development will continue so long as the company supporting it stays solvent. McAfee and Norton both stay at the top of their game (even though they're bloated as hell) because not only are people willing to purchase a quality product, but their businesses will cease to exist if the product doesn't stay on the top, their investors will pull out their money. And then you've got millons of people with dated software. Security software at that. Okay, so I'm almost making it sound as though the developers have a gun against their head, but they wouldn't be doing it if they didn't enjoy it (or got paid for it).
If the company does go under, and if the public is either unaware (c'mon, if there are still people using IE because "it's there and it's what I know", then you know there are people who use McAfee who wouldn't notice if Network Associates went under) or uncaring, then as I said already, you've got people with security software that isn't secure. And that's a zombie machine just waiting to happen. And you know, it was getting just too expensive for me to keep up with McAfee or Norton, and the programs were getting just so bloated, that I decided to take my business elsewhere. So, if you don't mind me plugging a great piece of free software, check out AVG Free

Free and/or bought CS software tends to look more polished. If I pay for a product, I want it to look professional. Even some freeware looks relatively professional (Opera). Though this point doesn't seem to be that big of a deal, you'd be surprised. My friend, I can be shallow, for exapmle, I told a friend of mine that I want one of those Mac laptops (MacTop?). She asked why, and the only answer I could provied was "Even if it sucks, it's a sexy piece of hardware." Yes, I said I wanted something not because it promised a better way, but that it just plain looked better.
A polished User Interface does not a good product make. Like I stated above, I wanted something that looked good. Though I know if I ever got one, I'd feel ripped off (I just know I'd never use it, not worth the trouble of learning yet another Operating System. Also, excessive development in polishing the UI sometimes means little development in anything else.

Paid for CS usually doesn't have crap bundled with it, especially adware. Open Source does the same thing for free, but I'm trying to follow this little template I'm using.
But (god this is gonna look awful when published)
Free CS sometimes comes with "extras". Like Gator or Weatherbug. It sucks, but developers need to eat, and even if the company decides to give something away bundled with something that'll provide the company with cash, though unethical, only constant resolve will help you. If you've got a lot of freeware on your machine, be sure to run adaware every now and then, just in case.

That's why I'm for and against Closed Source. And now...
(drum roll)

Open Source

The Arguments

Though Open Source Software (OSS from here on out)is somewhat less secure, the possible number of people developing the software is huge. If you have a problem with the program, you can download the source and fix it up for yourself. And if it's a major OSS effort, like Firefox, problems can be fixed quickly and easily. This is all fine and dandy for advanced users,
(and you saw this coming, didn't you) But
Not everyone has the time, inclination, or knowledge to fix up the code. I'm guilty of all three. So when I use OSS I rely on people who I suppose know what they're doing. And that's a level of trust I'm not generally comfortable with. And as far as security goes, check out what Symantec says about that revolutionary browser, Firefox. Twice as many flaws as IE?. I believe it. But since not as many people use FF, these flaws aren't going to be exploited. Until, of course, FF overtakes IE (it could happen). Yay.

OSS promises that development will continue so long as there are people willing to donate their time to the program. This is good, and considering that more and more people are capable of downloading the source and working with it, a program can (in theory) remain ctting edge even when the creator has left the dev team.
Even if a program is still being worked on, that doesn't always make it better. Bloated software seems to be everywhere these days, and OSS isn't invulnerable to this trend. Also, you're really expecting people to donate their time, even after the creator has left? Y'know, there may have been a reason s/he left. And then you have the same problem as a CS alternative. It'll get old, and people may not realize that development has ceased. But the risk of having old OS software getting exploited is slim, so no problem, right? Riiiiight.

Unfortunately, I don't have a pro for OSS as far as User Interface goes. The UI of even popular OSS looks like it's been designed by a thousand Soviet aesthets. Yeah, doesnt' look terribly good. Even Firefox just feels free. It's unpolished, you can't modify it through the options menu as much as you ought to be able to (and about:config is a shitty solution. I can't do any of that crap, you think a general end user can? ). OSS, especially Linux flavors, suffers from "cheapness." Basically, it runs great, but looks like crap. Gray, with the most bizzarre design of geek colors you could ever imagine. If you lack any sense of style, you won't mind OSS. Me, it feels like a part of me has died whenever I look at the UI. Crying shame, and maybe some developers' girlfriends/boyfriends/wives/etc. can give them some tips on what looks good.

Sorry, had to vent about that.

But!!!! OSS means it's not bundled with any crap, ever! It's free, and the developers want it to remain that way. Donations accepted, of course, but they won't even openly say that (unlike maxthon). This is something that doesn't have a con to it (see, this can be considered an even review :) ).

In the end, why can't we all just get along. I can see why someone would prefer closed source, and see why someone would prefer Open. Me, I tend on the Closed side, but I'm not an arrogant prick and can see the benefits to Open source. Use what you like, people. Always. But if I use something that you don't, please please please, don't get up my ass for it (I'm getting sick of the Opera/Firefox debate). Now, if what I'm using is insecure, let me know, and i might find an alternative. I'd do the same for you.


Alas, is only a day away. So the Carnival is nearly ready, just a few more links to prepare, and it'll be off. I, for one, can't wait, and would love to put it up now, but no, I said thursday, and Thursday it'll be. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Shameless Promotion of Opera

No ads. Better browsing

It has arrived.

Google wi-fi

Reuters has a great story about Google's Free Wi-Fi. This is either great news, or Google is getting even closer to world domination. Although I'm unsure how free wi-fi can serve more advertising to the user, however if this program does prove successful, I for one won't be complaining.

Opera is Free

As in Beer! Ok, you didn't hear it here first, I'm sure, but why don't you go ahead and download what I think is one of the best browsers around. And now that it's free, you have no excuse to at least try it :).

Opera 8.50 is here

Saturday, September 17, 2005


I want Validation

To say that blogger does not comply with W3C standards is an understatement. I'd like my site to validate by thursday (y'know, the big day), but my knowledge of html is extremely limited. Perhaps someone here knows of a good online source that'll help me out with learning better html. Wishful thinking, i know. Oh, and since I'm begging, if anyone knows someone who would like to be in the Carnival of Computing, have them email me (andrewhughes.1 -at- gmail . com). Thanks all.


Part 1 of the Browser Reviews

This must be said before all else. Maxthon is not a true browser. Sure, you think it surfs the web, but it's only pretending. Maxthon is one of the more popular Internet Explorer shells. To sum it all up, Maxthon is a program which adds usability to IE, but relies on IE to browse the internet. Hey, it's free, looks nice, and makes IE usable. What could be wrong with it?

Download and install was easy enough. Wait...did it just ask me if I wanted to install Weatherbug as well. Ouch, that's a loss of points right there. Sure it's free, but wonder how many people are using Mathon while being abused by Weatherbug just to make it that way. describes that WB is malware, and gives advice on its removal. But after refusing to install WB, Maxthon didn't bother me again with it. Instead, each time I opened the program it asked for a donation. Actually, that's a pretty good idea, so if you use it, donate. Keep this sucker free.

Now that I've opened the program, there's another problem. It's bulky. In fact, I can only see the toolbar. Check out my screen shot here. Many will agree that this is an insane ammount of screen space wasted on huge Back and Refresh buttons. It has the generic search bar to the left of the bar, good feature if you're a search junkie like I am.

Not only does it have tabs, but it has excellent tab management. Although it's not true MDI (Multiple Document Interface), it handles tabs adequately. Another great feature, one that once you've aquainted yourself with it, you'll never go back to anything else, is Mouse Gestures. To go back, instead of hauling your mouse all the way up to the toolbar, just hold the right mouse button down and move the mouse to the left. It's another beautiful function. Upon closing, a dialog box asks if I'd like to save the session or resume upon restart. Sessions are a way to save the last page you were viewing so that when you open the program again it can bring you back to where you left off. Sessions are becoming more and more popular, and most (read IE) browsers are capable of this feature.

I'd say browsing is fairly fast, although that's saying IE is fairly fast. Though if you have many tabs open, 10 or more, the program starts to crawl. Again, not really Maxthon's fault, it's how IE operates. Oh, and it has a popup blocker, for those who care :) .

The only limit to Maxthon is its reliance on Internet Explorer, yet I doubt that'll change any time soon. Thought the toolbar is initially overwhelming, after some modifications, shown here, it becomes usable and not an eyesore. I'd rate it at three stars out of five, losing the most points on being an IE Shell, because although it's a great program, it is still, essentially, Internet Explorer.

Try it for yourself.

I'll use it as often as I can throughout the week, and bring you an update after I can get a better feel for it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Woe is Me

What a time to get sick, eh? Not only is this post reviewing browser going to be huge (and a bit more in depth than anything i've written here before), but organizing the Carnival of Computing is proving to be quite a task. So far I've gotten several people to agree to have their posts showcased, and I'd like to thank Jay Solo over at Accidental Verbosity. Oh, and because it's made all of this so much easier, thank you to Google's Blog Search.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Give me time

Right now I'm downloading browsers. It's been a couple of years since I've used a few of these, and I'd like to do a very comprehensive comparison of most browsers. Probably going to take me a few hours. Yay.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Let's Have a Carnival

Being an ambitious nobody, I've had an idea to improve my visibility, as well as the visibility of other blogs. I typically write about two topics, economics and software. There's already a ”Carnival of the Capitalists”, but after spending some time on Google (using Andrew's patented “Google Ninja” skills) it seems there isn't a ”Carnival of Computing”. That ought to change soon, though.

As many of us know, a Carnival is a blog post highlighting other people's expertise on anything from recipes to capitalism. Every week, each particular carnival is hosted at a different site than the week before. I find these carnivals a great way of networking like minded individuals, as well as showcasing the best ideas in a certain field.

I have hosted the Carnival of the Capitalists before, and found it to be hard work, but hard work that was well worth it. So as soon as Gmail starts working, I'm going to get moving, and hope to have a “Carnival of Computing” up as soon as possible (hopefully by the end of the week).

Topics: These are hardly set in stone, but if you or someone you know has a blog specializing in the following areas, send them to me:

Software Design/Reviews
Hardware Design/Reviews
Open Source Commentary
Industry related Business

My email is

Software Review: AOL Browser

The other day I downloaded a beta for AIM, known as Triton. I'm not a big fan of AIM, though truth be told, I do enjoy it's protocol. I use Gaim (an open source alternative) to access my AIM account and talk to my friends. But I'm an open minded kind of guy, so I figured to give Triton a try. Unimpressed once again, I was about to uninstall it, until I noticed a new icon on my Desktop. AOL Browser. I groaned to myself, I thought I'd tried out every browser in existence (though I have yet to write about them all). So here's yet another Browser review for all you out there who might care (and those who don't).

First of all, the User Interface. The UI is clean, though a little too much white was used, to the point of overwhelming the user. I also couldn't help but notice how similar to Opera the interface is, especially the layout of the Tabs. Yes, it has tabs, not true MDI, but it's not something I'd like to harp on right here. I've come to turns with tabs, even if I don't prefer them.

Ha! It's an Internet Explorer shell (big surprise there), which always seems to be a cop out. It isn't a Browser at all, just another of the many pretenders who think that modifiying the way IE looks is a new product altogether. Grrr.

And it does what all IE shells try to do, and that is to make IE look and function more like Firefox and Opera (note: more grrring here). The name is different, but the result is the same. Try a real alternative instead of hiding the fact you use an inferior browser, and Get Firefox or Sing Opera

Download Opera

*Got get 'em Questionable Sexuality Super Opera Man!

The Man Who Got It Right

I'm a big fan of The Drudge Report, though at times Mr. Drudge has a tendency to blow stories out of proportion. That being said, he is perhaps one of the few people who really saw what Hurricane Katrina was capable of, and reported on it. Sunday, August 28, the night before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Matt Drudge was doing his weekly radio show. He wondered how hard New Orleans would be hit, and predicted that the devastation would be incredible. I heard all this and took it all with a grain of salt. It's Drudge, after all, you can't always take him seriously. Well, to his credit, he usually gets the big stories right, and the Katrina Aftermath is another in a long list.

Real Estate Boom

So far, Baton Rouge Real Estate has risen up to 20%. This is great for some, sucks for others, but let me tell you something. Last night a radio talk show host was complaining that the rise in real estate was unconscionable. I'd like to politely disagree. Sure, we have people who would do anything for a place to call their own in Baton Rouge, especially considering how much we've grown in these past few weeks. But the town didn't foresee such a catastrophe, and didn't plan on this population growth. And so this is a simple supply and demand problem, you see. Demand for even a small appartment has grown considerabley (and see my other posts describing how quickly the housing market grew), but we just don't have the infrastructure. Not enough houses and appartments, as well as a steep increase in demand, means a steep increase in housing prices.

Will the Real Estate market go down? Sure. Development has already begun to give these evacuees a place to stay. Will they be here indefinitley? Perhaps, only in time will we know the answer to that. Because of that, the appartment market will remain high until it is obvious that many of these people will be staying in Baton Rouge. In the mean time, housing development is free to run wild. There are people in town who need the housing, so it's a very low risk investment to begin developing houses. On the other hand, the risk involved in building new appartment complexes is still much too high, though I'm sure that over the next few months we'll at least see enough units built to affect a change in the market.

Hurricane Katrina is not 9/11!

I've heard an awful lot about how Hurricane Katrina is in a lot of ways like 9/11. It's not, not even close. You see, on September 11, 2001, no one was left directly homeless. 95% of all business in NYC had resumed business after a week, and employment was unaffected. Most of New Orleans and the surrounding areas are uninhabitable, and will be for a few more months. An entire American city incapacitated. The only connection I can make between the two disasters is the negative economic effect on the nation as a whole.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


America's Third World Country

Mike Higgins (whom I ought to keep in touch with better) over at Chocolate and Gold Coins made an interesting statement in my comments section earlier. To quote, “My opinion is that this disaster seemed to be a culmination of many levels of bad government. Poor planning, low preparedness, slow response...everything that you might see in India or even Africa.” While I agree, I must make a point. It's been four years today since the attacks on September 11, and I remember being proud of how well the US government handled the situation. Watching the aftermath from Hurricane Katrina in person (as opposed to the news, haven't had much time for anything but local news lately), I realize how far we've gone backwards. Four years ago we had a government of action that stepped up to solve the problem of international terrorism. Today we have a government of inaction, delays and bureaucracy. Not much has changed in the last two weeks. Hundreds of thousands are homeless, taking refuge in Baton Rouge or elsewhere, and the government, though it may be solving some problems, is largely invisible. Our Senators, Landrieu and Vitter, are busy pointing fingers, our Governor has been missing for a week now (probably not leaving the Temporary Governor's Mansion just a few blocks away from here, and costing tax payers $6,000 a month). Only the mayor of Baton Rouge has been active (sure, Mayor Nagin from New Orleans can talk all he wants, but he hasn't done much), ensuring that with the aid of the Red Cross, evacuees have food and water and a roof over their heads, even if it is the Baton Rouge River Center.

When I look at it, only one thing has improved as far as America's response to disaster, and that is the citizens of this country. The number of donations is astounding, and the people of Louisiana and Texas who have taken these evacuees in really gives me a sense of civic pride, and I hope I'm not the only one.

You know, I talk to a lot of people in Europe, and when they ask where I'm from I always reply, “Louisiana, America's Third World Country.” Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, my attempt at a joke has now become truth.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


FEMA Fixed, Sort Of

From a FEMA spokesman David Patsy (sp?), assistance is on its way for evacuees in Baton Rouge. The $2,000/household will begin arriving as soon as the debit cards have been distributed to those in Houston. You must apply for assistance, and the money will be distributed either via mail (grr) or direct deposit. I'm begin to think maybe we should be hearing more from our local government, but the mayor's been silent since yesterday, and our Governess seems to be in hiding.

FEMA Again

FEMA is delivering these $2,000 debit cards to evacuees who are living in shelters. That's all well and good, but there are people who've lost everything that need some money. Aha, but there is news on that front. You see, our friends at FEMA have decided that after handing out those debit cards to those people in shelters, they will begin mailing out checks to all other evacuees. Got that? Yeah, they're going to mail them out. To where?! These people have no homes, no address. These devolopments reveal how out of touch FEMA really is. When we're through this, I think it'll be high time to take a good look at FEMA (as well as many other government agencies). An agency which has to respond in hours can't afford to operate as a buearuacracies anymore.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency has made it's way to Baton Rouge. Supposedly. People in town looking for some assistance are pretty much shit out of luck. No one can seem to find their offices, and radio stations looking to speak to any FEMA officials are given the run around. Now I don't want to sound critical, but how long does it take these people to get moving? It's reprehensible that a federal agency specializing in emergency assistance can't seem to get moving. Hopefully they're busy doing something, but that has yet to be seen. Hurry up and wait, I guess, just like every other government agency.

Internet Explorer and FEMA, the Model of Efficiency

Slashdot has a great little blurb here. FEMA will only allow you to apply for online assistance using Internet Explorer. So if you are an evacuee who uses a Mac or Linux machine, as though you didn't have enough by way of annoyances, add this one to your list. Sure, one may call me a bit of a browser snob (check out Opera), but is something like this really necessary. No wonder the US people think Microsoft is dangerously close to being a monopoly, the government is doing all it can to make it happen. Granted, there's probably a way around this editing Opera's ua.ini, and if you want a fix, i'll do it upon request. Both Firefox and Opera are very good at hiding the fact that they're not Internet Explorer, it just takes a little work and practice.

Oh, and this is only the first complaint out of a series on FEMA.

Community Renewal

Now's the time to fix this town up. The sheer amount of unused square footage in Baton Rouge can now be put to good use. We have two empty wal-marts, and several huge grocery stores which have gone out of business years ago. Baton Rouge ought to use these places, setting up cubicles for makeshift schools. A friend of mine who's an employee in the school system says that attendance is up 100% , putting nearly 50 children in each classroom. This is dangerous and hinders learning, as it provides a poor learning atmosphere. With these new students came new teachers, and if we can make enough room for them, then their studies won't be lost in the evacuation. But the time to act is now, Louisiana, the Baton Rouge school system cannot function at twice capacity for very much longer (and it's only been just a few days).

To Make Light of a Situation

Saw this on Fark the other day:

"Second Battle of New Orleans ends with American route. Forces of Mother Nature left holding the field. American forces vow to return. Nature commanders Katrina and Pontchartrain to receive Natural Medals of Massive Devastation for their efforts. Pontchartrain claims he had been plotting his attack for centuries."

Now, I mean no disrespect, believe me, but if we're gonna call Baton Rouge New New Orleans, can we go ahead and call NO "Lower Lake Ponchatrain"? Ok, ok, so it's kinda below the belt, but hopefully I made someone smile.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Community Depression

Last week, with a population that tripled overnight, I noticed something incredible. I can only describe it as community depression. By Friday it seemed that no one in Baton Rouge was up for anything. We were tired, emotionally worn out, sick of the traffic, sick of the lines. The weekend provided no respite, Labor Day was a business day this year. And on top of the fact that there was just a huge number of new people in town, it didn't help that they were even more depressed than we were. These hundreds of thousands of people had no homes, no jobs, no gas. No schools and no food. To sum everything up, life was bleak, and it didn't seem like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Not even a flicker. I woke up Sunday morning and didn't feel like getting out of bed, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

Want to Lower Gas Prices?

Recognize it for what it is, a necessity. I'm the type of person who thinks that gas is nearly as important as food. But how would you feel if you had to pay a 21% tax on a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread? There'd be no avoiding the high cost of living due to such a steep tax on food. Look, I think it's irresponsible and repressive for a state or federal government to levy taxes on necessities, be they gasoline, food, or clothing.

So when your congressman, your president, and your governor all say that they really feel for you, what with the high gas prices, ask them this: “What are you doing about it?” I bet repealing or reducing the gas taxes are the last on their list. 21% of $3.00. That's 63 cents off of every gallon going out of your pocket and fueling (no pun intended, honest) growing bureaucracies. We're in the middle of a mini fuel crisis, and even a temporary reduction of taxes will be sure to help. And I can imagine that lower prices at the pump mean more voters checking your name.

It's time to let your government know where to stick that pump.

Casual Observation

Well, I guess it's official, but I seem to be back at full strength. Apparently, after having just 5 posts since May, I've had nine since last evening. Granted, I'm not back on topic (economics/finance) technically, but right now there's a lot going on much closer to home. So hey, keep on coming, I'll keep on writing. Let's see what the future holds, and I promise, no more deeply personal posts for quite a while (I think that's what killed the site off in the first place).


It'll make you feel better, grow taller, lose weight and improve your sex life. Oh, and it'll help out a lot of people who are really in the hole right now. You know, donating is only a temporary solution to what is now a long term problem. Yes, all these displaced people need money, need clothes and food and water, but soon there'll be a new problem. Unemployment.

If anyone reading this is of an entrepreneurial mind and has some start up capital with a willingness to move, Baton Rouge needs housing, and many other businesses that are associated with a growing population. We need it, and if you can help get people in the area a job, it'll be more rewarding than if you just sent a few grand over to the Red Cross. It'll increase your wealth as well as that of many people who really need it. Long term wealth.

Though, if you feel like donating to the Red Cross, go ahead and do that, even if it's a few bucks. It's sure to help. It's a proven fact that donating money makes you feel wealthier, and when you feel wealthier you tend to become wealthier. So, how bout that, maybe $5 to the Red Cross. We know you want to.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Opera

Almost two years ago I got a cable modem. With blazing speeds, and much more browsing, I needed to find a browser that would suit me best. So I devised a test of sorts to weed out the weak ones and find that “one". I downloaded some of the better known Internet Explorer shells (a program that modifies IE, but still uses its engine), FireFox (or whatever it was called back then), and Opera. Each program would have two weeks, that way I could get the best feel for each. I started out with FireFox, and even though it was in version .6 I found it relatively fast and stable. My only issue with it was that it took forever to load. I don’t have the fastest computer in the world (5 years next week, actually), and how heavy a program is really weighed heavily in my test.

I then tried out the IE shells like Maxthon and Avant Browser. Both were decent, but they looked kind of ugly and unprofessional (and I’m a little shallow when it comes to that sort of thing). With Opera I felt the same way. I figured out how to skin it and became a bit more comfortable with the interface, but nothing really caught my attention. Then one day I was browsing around and accidently hit the right mouse button right before I hit the left, and suddenly I had gone back one page. To say I was confused is an understatement. But I started to figure out the mouse gestures, and really did like them. Another great feature was how Opera could start up where I had left off, which I don’t think I could live without any more.

So it was time to see how each browser stacked up, and I picked Firefox. Yep, and as soon as it opened, and I browsed away from my home page, I found myself trying to use mouse gestures. It didn’t work, and there wasn’t an extension that could take care of gestures well, so I switched back to Opera. And I never looked back.

With time I began to understand how truly customizable Opera is, without needing extensions or shell programs. Every feature can be turned on, off, or modified. The skins are getting much better, and the default skin has come a long way. And finally, that Top Ten feature, found in that little drop down box under your address bar, has become one of the most used features.

Sarcastic Speculation

Why hasn't anyone been talking about Karl Roves destructive weather machine used to kill all the black people in south Louisiana? C'mon people, it's the only logical explanation.

Rush Hour

I got to my little coffee shop at three yesterday. It isn't exactly the busiest part of town, but traffic was gridlocked. Leaving just after seven, and it was still busy outside. No wonder we don't have any gas in Baton Rouge, it's a parking lot these days. The city has changed, and it's time to update the infrastructure. This morning, Mayor Kip Holden allocated $1 million towards alleviating our traffic problems, but I doubt we'll start seeing results any time soon.

The way I see it, traffic is a double edged sword. On one hand, congestion contributes to a weakened public morale, an unnecessary expense, and decreased public productivity. Yet the traffic congestion hints at a strengthening economy and an increase in tax revenue. Whether the traffic problems will pull the city ahead or behind cannot be predicted until the town normalizes. We have yet to see if the drastic increase in population is permanent or not, yet conventional wisdom now states that these people are staying.

This city is in great need of a mass transit system, our bus line is both small and ineffective. A light rail route crossing the city would alleviate some traffic, but it's uncertain whether it'll be used if implemented, such as the bus line. The most logical and cost effectI've heard is to stagger your employees' schedules. Instead of everyone on the streets at 7 and again at 5, an employer could modify some of their employees' schedules throughout the morning and evening hours, desaturating the rush hours. Companies could also move towards a six day work week (this weekend was non existant, in fact even labor day was a work day for many in the city). This proved effective this past week, and hopefully will be widely implemented, at least until the city has normalized.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Population Woes

Four houses on my block were for sale last week, all sold by Friday. The apartment company that I currently work for has leased at least 40 apartments since Tuesday of last week. Baton Rouge has grown, and I believe that this will be a great thing. Others disagree. People here in town are worried that we've taken on all of New Orleans' riff raff. Even the local ghetto residents are scared.

I, however, take a different view. And let me be frank, but I'm usually a cynical pessimist. Taking on an overwhelming number of refugees, many of whom are here to stay, means nothing but good for Baton Rouge. Now I've been here for over six years, and the local economy has been beyond stagnant. Granted, I'm from New Jersey, so my perception may be skewed, but it seems to me that if it doesn't include getting drunk, going to a movie, or making an ass out of yourself, it isn't fun in Baton Rouge. To say that we need a cultural renewal is an understatement. Yet there was a place, just an hour down the interstate from here, that had some form of culture. Hopefully, we'll get some art in town, perhaps see an opera or two, and a more visible Baton Rouge Symphony. We'll just have to wait and see, but I for one remain hopefull.

Political Fallout

Is there anyone to blame for the dead in New Orleans? Probably not, yet public perception is reality, so let's take a look at who's going to suffer politically. First, Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans will more than likely remain unscathed, perhaps even lionized, because he's done all that he could. Nagin was left out of the loop, and it shows. Governor Kathleen Blanco, however, probably won't escape blame. Recent reports state that the President asked that the city of New Orleans be evacuated on Saturday, when it was obvious that the city would sustain substantial damage. For whatever reasons, she waited a day to order the evacuation, indirectly contributing to the thousands of lives lost. It will be interesting to see if Blanco is re-elected in 2007, though I doubt she will be. It's too soon to say if the President will see any political fallout. His fate depends upon how well the numerous bureaucracies involved in the relief effort work quickly and efficiently. Though I suspect that during the midterm elections in 2006, both houses of congress will turn over to the Democrats, especially if the hurricane issue comes into play.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?