Skating Babies

Posting will be light for a week or so while I make the 16 hour trek to Ohio for Thanksgiving but I thought I’d leave you with this for your viewing pleasure.

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Missouri Republican Group Calls For Overthrowing The Government

The Lafayette County Missouri Republicans apparently have had enough and aren’t going to take it anymore. Their solution? Overthrow the government.

From their billboard:

“A Citizens Guide to Revolution of a corrupt government.
1. Starve the Beast.
2. Vote out incumbents.
3. If steps, 1 & 2 fail?


So who are the terrorists again?

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Supply And Demand At Work?

Remember $4.50 a gallon gas? The oil companies and oil speculators surely did and apparently they miss those good old days. But when the laws of supply and demand aren’t working what are they to do?

They resort to Plan B and they manipulate the supply…

Locals in Suffolk watched with growing anger over the summer as more and more tankers dropped anchor.

Southwold mayor Susan Doy said: ‘It is wrong that tankers should be left off our coast for reasons of profiteering. Ordinary people are left to suffer as petrol prices go up.’

Andrew Reid, of ship owners and managers Charles M Willie & Co, said the flotilla off the Devon coast, pictured in the Mail yesterday, was ‘a drop in the ocean compared to the much bigger fleet full of crude oil off Suffolk’.

He added: ‘They are all just waiting there for the price of crude oil to rise, enabling huge profits to be taken. If all this crude were to be delivered there would doubtless be a fall in the crude price and petrol prices.

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Pot Meet Kettle – The Associated Press Edition

Yesterday I briefly mentioned how Sarah Palin’s new book “Going Rogue” had been fact checked by the Associated Press with quite a few of Palin’s “facts” being called into question. Along those lines Talking Points Memo posted on the AP fact finding mission including how the AP somehow got a hold of a copy of Palin’s book before it was released, digitized it, and proceeded to quote it extensively in their fact checking story. They even gave a $500 bonus to the reporters who were responsible for tracking down the pre-release copy.

An obvious case of fair use right?

Considering that the AP apparently doesn’t believe in fair use going so far as to try and charge bloggers for quoting with attribution from their articles, will they be paying the copyright holders for this story? At the AP’s pricing of $2.50 a word up to $100 for 251 words or more, Palin should be seeing a $100 check soon.

I am sure it is in the mail…

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There Is A "Sarah Palin Quitting Early Again" Meme Here Somewhere

The women out pawning a book despite some not believing that she has ever read one is apparently sticking it to her supporters once again and her Sioux Falls fans looking forward to her appearance here on December 6th might want to pay close attention.

Sarah Palin’s whirlwind book signing tour in small towns with easily controlled impressed media made a stop in Noblesville, IN and despite folks waiting for hours for one of 1000 wristbands, anywhere from 150-300 (depending on who you listen to) were left hanging after Palin quit signing before all in line could meet their “Hockey Mom” hero. Many were not happy.

As mentioned above, Palin’s book tour is strangely avoiding most large media markets to which I wondered whether she was doing so to avoid having to answer questions. Well a story in today’s Argus answers that question mentioning that she is also ducking out of interviews even with local rags in the cities she has toured to date.

In her new book, Sarah Palin complains that presidential candidate John McCain’s staff kept her away from the media.

But on the first four stops of her book tour, Palin has repeatedly ducked local reporters.

The Argus Leader surveyed 12 local newspapers and television stations which requested interviews with Palin in the first four metro areas she visited on the tour: Grand Rapids, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Indianapolis and Cincinnati. None of the 12 news outlets were granted an interview.

Pretty strange for someone hawking books to be avoiding the non-Oprah media isn’t it? Maybe it has something to do with a large chunk of the book already being called out as being less than truthful

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Texan's Banned All Marriage?

Texas is known for many ridiculous legislative ideas already but this one might take the cake. It is possible that in their haste to incorporate homophobia into the state’s Constitution in 2005 by banning same sex marriage and civil unions, they might have also banned all marriages in the process.

The amendment, approved by the Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by voters, declares that “marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” But the troublemaking phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares:

“This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Architects of the amendment included the clause to ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships. But Radnofsky, who was a member of the powerhouse Vinson & Elkins law firm in Houston for 27 years until retiring in 2006, says the wording of Subsection B effectively “eliminates marriage in Texas,” including common-law marriages.

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I Waited, I Really Did

Anyone who regularly reads my rants knows that I have been quite critical of the exclusivity deal that Apple signed with AT&T to have the iPhone. While it appears that Ma Bell might actually move into South Dakota some time next year as a result of the Verizon/Alltel merger, there has been no word on them bringing the iPhone with them (Alltel’s network is incompatible with the current iPhone). Regular readers here would probably also know that I am a tech nerd that tries to keep up with all the latest and greatest gadgets.

So what is a South Dakota techie supposed to do when the so-called greatest thing since sliced bread in the cell phone business is unavailable?

In my case I waited, and waited, and waited hoping Apple would move on from AT&T. In the mean time I ignored the hype over all the latest and greatest Blackberry’s. I even held back on switching from Verizon to Sprint so that I could get the Palm Pre (come on Sprint, any chance that you can get more than 5 towers in South Dakota?). A couple of months ago I even resorted to buying a cheap replacement dumb phone on eBay when mine died with the hopes of the iPhone coming here in the not too distant future.

Well I finally decided to stop waiting and gave in to the hype over the latest and greatest toy and I upgraded to the next “iPhone killer” with the huge marketing budget also known as the Motorola Droid. I’ve only had it since last Friday so this review is based on only the weekend that I have had to really play around with it but I thought I would post my initial thoughts.
I assume the Droid gets its name from the fact that it runs on Google’s Android open source mobile phone operating system and from what I am reading, this phone might be Motorola’s last chance at survival in the mobile handset market.

As of this writing, the Droid is the only handset that I am aware of with the latest version of Android installed (ver. 2.0) and coming from being forced to use Windows Mobile on my work phone, currently an HTC Touch Pro 2, the difference is like night and day. Not more than a minute after the salesperson handed me the phone after activating it, it rang and I had to quickly figure out how to unlock it. A quick swipe with the finger later on the absolutely gorgeous touchscreen, I was on my way.

Being built on Google’s OS, the first thing you will notice is that it plays nice with Google’s other services including 2 that I use quite often, Gmail and Google Voice. The Droid enables push email from your Gmail accounts so you’ll never have to manually check them again, enter your log in information and you are set.

Google Voice also works quite nicely and from what I understand Android equipped phones are currently the only phones that you can utilize your Google Voice number right from the phones dialpad. In other words, making a phone call from your cell phone will show your Google Voice number on the caller ID display of the person you are calling. All you need to do is download the free Google Voice App from the Android Market Place (and have a Google Voice account of course).

Speaking of the Android Market Place, just about any functionality or feature that you could ever want on your Android phone has a application available on the Market Place. It’s not near the 100,000 or so apps available for the iPhone but the open source community is quite good at identifying a need and writing software to address it and in this case, big brother Apple has no control over what you can put on your phone.

Another great feature is Google Maps with turn by turn navigation. Using your phone’s built in GPS, you can use Google Maps for free turn by turn navigation that supports voice directions even being able to switch to Google Street view once you get close to your destination. Oh did I say it was free?

That’s some of the good, now for some of the bad.

Android 2.0 is a new OS version loaded on a brand new handset and there is bound to be bugs/usability concerns. A few that I have encountered or have heard of include a few biggies.

– Voice dialing over Bluetooth does not work so true handsfree calling is not currently possible.
– Another Bluetooth issue I have encountered is problems using the Bluetooth audio. After having a tough time getting the Droid paired with the Sync system in my Ford Fusion (you need to type the security code in really fast or it will time out), music played from the phone over Sync would drop out from time to time and from what I’ve read, it is a common problem not associated with Sync.
– Push email with Gmail works well but syncing with MS Exchange is buggy, especially with highly secure Exchange setups so getting corporate email setup can be a challenge.
– Auto focus on the camera is iffy to the point where I have just turned it off completely and once a photo is taken, the images take a while to load and some have had problems with noise showing up in the pictures.
– No “send” or “end” buttons on the phone. To make a call you must press the phone icon.
– The included music player doesn’t have a stop button so to stop a song you either have to pause the player or use task manager to close the application completely.

I am sure there are more but most of the other problems I have heard of come from those using a smart phone for the first time like battery life issues etc. but what is nice is that it seems that Verizon/Motorola/Google are listening. They have already planned an OTA (over the air) operating system update that could happen as soon as December 11th and will supposedly address some of the above concerns.

Like I said, this post is based on only a weekend of use but so far I am thoroughly impressed and will write updates as needed in the future. But as of now the Droid on Verizon’s excellent network is a great option even if AT&T ever decides to bring their crappy network and the iPhone to South Dakota.

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