Bye, loser

Edwards quits!

He lost Iowa’s caucuses, came third in New Hampshire, admitted getting his “butt kicked” in Nevada and came third in his native South Carolina.

Hooray!  John Edwards finally woke up to the fact that America doesn’t want him to be President!  He should have done it a while ago, and he definitely should have done it when he failed to win his home state, but whatever.  He’s out now, and we can concentrate on the two people who actually do have a chance of winning.

Here’s hoping he follows Ted Kennedy and endorses Obama.

Vector Security summary

Something like 25% of my traffic here from Google searches is people looking up Vector Security.  This post is the first Google result you get when searching for them that is not  And I’m getting more and more comments on that post about people with Vector experiences.  So I figured I’d stick my posts about them in a category, and summarize my experience. First, I have had NO problems with them.  Everything they said they’d do, they’ve done.  No one has tried to break into the house since we installed the system, we’ve had no false alarms, and no billing problems.  We don’t have a CO2 detector, so I can’t offer an opinion there. For those of you who’ve had problems with them, I will say it again – if they don’t fix the problem, threaten to contact the Better Business Bureau.  If they still won’t fix the problem, actually contact the BBB.  That’s what it’s there for, and it actually does work. Now, I don’t mean that you should do this every time there’s a little problem.  But if you have a serious issue that they (Or any company, really) won’t resolve after you’ve spoken politely to them about your problem, then it’s very likely that the BBB will help you out. Anyway, I hope I don’t have to disable comments on this post.  I am NOT here blogging in order to give anyone who wants it a soapbox to yell about bad customer service experiences.  But I don’t like to moderate non-spam comments (And haven’t had to, knock on wood), so please be reasonable so I don’t have to start.

Lots of rumors, and theyre all bad

My two favorite sports teams, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Orioles, are both looking to shoot themselves in the foot.

First we have the Washington coaching search.  There are rumors they want USC’s Pete Carroll, a doubly-confirmed NFL failure.  Don’t people realize that coaching in the NFL is different from coaching in college?  Didn’t Snyder learn anything from Steve Spurrier?  Carroll is a very good college coach.  He was a very bad NFL coach.  He would be a disaster in Washington, although that would go right along with Dan Snyder’s past history.  But Snyder has fired the coordinators, probably pissed off the team, and will likely end up with another flashy failure at head coach.

And the Orioles.  I get that they’re rebuilding.  It’s come at least five years too late, but I get it, and I’m thankful for it.  But why would you trade Bedard?  He’s 28.  He could be the ace of the staff for 5-7 years, maybe more.  He is the ONLY player on the team that you absolutely must keep, as far as I’m concerned.  And they want to make a deal with the Mariners that centers around a young outfielder with moderate power (His home runs were up in 2007 in the minors, but his doubles were down, and he doesn’t get on base much)?

I’ll grant you that George Sherrill, the reliever said to be part of the deal, had a disgusting season last year (0.99 WHIP, park-adjusted ERA+ of 183, K to BB of over 3).  But Bedard is, by far, the best player on the Orioles.  Why would you give him up?  Do you WANT Seattle to win their division this year?  Is that your goal?  Is Angelos getting a cut of their playoff revenues?

I think Angelos and Snyder want me to move to Boston.  That’s the only logical explanation.

Can we keep doing this, please?

Deal Spotlights Rarity Of Bipartisan Action –

The agreement on a stimulus package represented the first time since divided government returned to Washington a year ago that the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue sheathed their swords and came together on a major initiative without any bloodletting first.

Is it just me, or did you think this was how it was supposed to work, all the time?  It shouldn’t take the worst economic crisis in years to get politicians to do what we elected them to do.

This is one of the reasons I won’t affiliate with a party anymore.  Politics is not supposed to be about advancing your cause and the cause of your party.  It’s supposed to be about serving the people.  I think someone wrote that down somewhere a long time ago.  And that’s why I’m supporting Obama – he’s the only one running who I’ve ever even heard of saying something remotely related to bipartisanship.

And I think this is good for the country.  Even if the rebates don’t fix the economy (And I don’t think they will), I think it will help confidence a little bit to see the government come together and get something done quickly.  If the Senate blocks this, which the Post suggests they might, we should fire all of them.

Dear Dan Snyder

ESPN – Zorn top candidate as O coordinator but no Fassel deal yet – NFL

Snyder may take a few days to consider his options. If he decides not to wait until after the Super Bowl to expand his list of candidates, the job could very well go to Fassel, who compiled a 60-56-1 record in seven seasons as the Giants’ head coach (1997-2003), and who led the club to a Super Bowl XXXV appearance. Fassel, who most recently served as the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator before being dismissed from that job midway through the 2006 season, was also a head coach candidate in Washington in 2004 before Snyder coaxed Gibbs out of retirement.

Please don’t hire Jim Fassel to coach the Redskins.  I’ve gone on record time and again as saying that I don’t want failed head coach Gregg Williams to be our head coach, but he would be infinitely preferable to Fassel.  Williams actually seems to be getting the hang of this whole “defensive playcalling” thing lately.  He hasn’t been big-blitzing on third down and getting burned so much.  The Redskins don’t miss tackles like they did a few years ago.  It’s taken him a while, but the defense has actually looked pretty good lately.  Which would be a dumb time to change coordinators.

However, I would greatly prefer him to a guy who may have taken the Giants to a Super Bowl (In which they were blown out), but barely compiled a record above .500, and apparently totally lost control of his team in the season before the Giants fired him.

Why would you want that guy to coach your team?  If he had a long and illustrious career, and one really bad season that led to his firing, I’d say go ahead and give him another chance.  But that is clearly not the case with Fassel.  Let some other team give him his second shot.  He’ll fail there, and Snyder will save a few million dollars.

I don’t understand why NFL teams keep going back to coaches who fail.  If a guy is merely average at his job, and then does such a bad job one year that everyone around him hates him, why in the world would you hire him to do the same thing for you?  The Ravens had the right idea when they hired him at a lower level (Offensive coordinator), but then they fired him, too, because he wasn’t very good at that, either.  At this point, I would consider hiring him to fetch coffee for the real head coach, but that’s about it.

Now, I know that it’s really hard to be a Ravens offensive coordinator – they’ve never had a quarterback in the history of the franchise.  But when your entire job is to make the offense better, and you can’t do it, you should not be getting promoted.

Anyway, I hope we get someone else.  Someone who doesn’t have such a track record of failure would be great.  And I don’t much care for bringing in anyone from the Seahawks to coach our offense.  Although I suppose that anyone who can get a winning offense out of Hasslesuck probably knows a little bit about football.

The Duck and the Dunderhead

Rebate checks floated as way to boost economy –

“We’ve got mayors from both political parties here. We didn’t have a political discussion. We had a discussion on what’s best for America, particularly given the economic uncertainty we face,” Bush said. “I talked to them about my desire to work with the Congress to get a stimulus package passed, one that’s going to be robust enough to affect the economy, simple enough for people to understand and efficient enough to have an impact.”

Pelosi on Tuesday also said Congress and the president agree that movement on the plan is “urgent” and must be approached “in a bipartisan way,” but the particulars of the plan are not yet settled.

When you have duck-like Nancy Pelosi and our fearless leader both agreeing that we need a quick solution to benefit the country rather than their respective parties, it might be time to start trading in all your liquid assets for something more likely to hold its value. Like a couple of barrels of crude oil. Frankly, I don’t think that tax rebates are really the answer. Consumer confidence is way down, and a couple hundred extra dollars aren’t going to bring that back. I’m too young to know what it was like in the ’70s and ’80s when the economy was really bad, so I can’t compare it. But this is the most worried about the economy I’ve ever been, and I think I’m pretty financially secure. I don’t even want to see my next 401K statement. But I realize that I’m better off than a huge number of people out there, and some of them are really going to struggle if things get as bad as a lot of smart people are predicting. Anyway, I hope that Congress and the President follow up on their quick fixes with some real long-term ideas. Otherwise, it could be a long couple of years.

You suck, Microsoft

Featured Windows Download: Make Documents Readable Anywhere with Docx2Rtf

The latest editions of Microsoft Office might have made some welcome interface and functionality improvements, but the newer .docx file formats can leave your co-workers (and your other computers) struggling to open its files.

I guess my stubborn refusal to run Vista longer than it took to download and burn the Ubuntu 7.1 cd meant that I missed Microsoft’s new file format, .docx.  The above article on Lifehacker about how to deal with it was the first I’d heard of this wonderful, wonderful, super-awesome, customer-focused idea.  I mean, the people who use Office have been just clamoring for a new file format to meet their needs.  Now that most MS Office alternatives can deal pretty well with .doc files, of course we need a new format to once again throw interoperability out the window.

And of course, since so many people use Windows and MS Office, it will become the new standard.  And then the open source community will toil away and update all the software to deal with .docx.  And then Microsoft will undoubtedly come out with some other format, and we’ll start all over again.  I don’t know how this benefits anyone but Microsoft.  It certainly doesn’t help consumers.

Ill take 8 of these, too.

Dutch firm launches phone with fold-away screen | Tech&Sci | Technology | via Gizmodo.

“You get the large display of e-reading, the super battery life of e-reading, and the high-end connectivity … and the form factor and weight of a mobile phone,” said Karl McGoldrick, chief executive of the venture capital-funded firm, in which Philips still has a 25 percent stake.

In what hopefully will be an unpleasant development for Amazon’s locked up Kindle, a company spun off of Phillips is planning to bring a phone to market in 2008 that uses fold out e-paper.  This is pretty awesome.  If they release it in the States around the time that Verizon opens up their network, this could change the whole marketplace for mobile devices.

Or it could be another expensive toy that the wife tells me not to buy.

Ill take 8, thanks

PCs: Ripple-Mini PC Packs an Awful Lot of Computing into $132

The device, which will retail for a shockingly low €90 ($132), will pack in an Intel Celeron M215 (1.33GHz), 1GB RAM, SiS 662 North Bridge and SiS 964L South Bridge, all in a dinky 20x300x220mm, Mac mini-esque case.

Why can’t we have these over here?  I’d gladly pay $132 for this thing.  In fact, I’d put one in every room of the house.  I’d add a little 7″ touchscreen and mount one under the cabinets in the kitchen and use it for recipes.  I’d put one in the bathroom just to annoy the wife.  I’d even buy one for the cat.

I can’t wait until computers like this hit that magical price point where it’s not longer a big purchase that you think about for a while, but a “Hey, can you pick up another computer on your way home from work today?” kind of purchase.

I love statistics

Analysis: Romney takes Michigan gold as S.C. fight heats up –

Not surprisingly, the economy was by far the most important issue to Michigan voters. For Romney’s chief competitor in the Michigan primary, John McCain, that was bad news. Only three in 10 voters who cited economic concerns as their top priority gave their votes to McCain; almost four in 10 went for Romney.

In other words, thirty-some percent who thought the economy was the most important thing voted for Romney, which was great.  And thirty-some percent who thought the economy was the most important thing voted for McCain, which was a disaster.  Good use of vague numbers, CNN.

It’s interesting that Rudy has skipped all of these states and just hung out in Florida.  Is this a common tactic that I just haven’t heard about?  Each Presidential election, I pay more attention than the last, and this is the first time I’ve really followed the primaries, so maybe this is all normal and I just haven’t noticed.

I keep hearing the same thing about McCain from Democrats – while he’s the least offensive of the Republican candidates in the eyes of most Democrats, he’s also seen as the most likely to beat whatever Democrat nominee he would face.  So it’s tough to know who to root for.

At least it’s an interesting race.  Hillary and Obama are sniping at each other over some ridiculous, trivial crap.  There hasn’t been a clear frontrunner on either side (I refuse to admit that Hillary is the clear frontrunner).  Lots of people who should have dropped out are sticking around (I’m looking at you, Edwards.  You’d better get 60% of South Carolina.  Actually, don’t, because I want you to be Obama’s VP.).

Anyway, exciting times.  And the city of DC still can’t seem to work out my voter registration.  Here I was, thinking I was registered through the DMV, and apparently that was all a lie.