GM is monumentally stupid

An article at Deadspin points out that GM gave Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes a car, but didn’t publicize it like they have in previous years.

Fact: Santonio Holmes made more than $2 million this season. Fact: The federal government just bailed out General Motors to the tune of $9.4 billion. So, why is GM giving Holmes an $85,000 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Platinum, which has been, in effect, purchased by the taxpayers?

A commentor mentions that this is even worse than not giving him the car. I had this thought, too. Seriously, I swear I thought of if before I saw the comment. I went and looked at the comment thread because I figured I wouldn’t be the only one. Surely in the past, GM figured that the relatively low cost of an Escalade compared with the promotional value of being on the field just after the Super Bowl was a worthwhile marketing effort. They were probably right. But now, they’ve still spent the money, but the only way that Escalade gets in the news is if Holmes gets arrested in it.

The WikiMetro scammers strike again!

The scammy scammers from WikiMetro, who take money to put ads on sites that don’t accept them, have contacted me again. See here and here for my previous contact with them.

Hi Drupalcon, Thanks for the email. Let’s schedule a time to talk on the telephone about this. Please go to Choose ‘Phone’ (it requires you to create a username) and choose a time for us to call you back. We’ve been a bit busy, but we can usually call you back in 10 minutes. Lisa Anderson Customer Service Wikimetro

They called me “Drupalcon” again. I know my custom site layout doesn’t follow conventions (I didn’t know this when I built it, and a redesign is in the works) so that automatic site parsers get confused. But starting a business relationship by scraping blogs for contact info is insane. I have never emailed them. And listing my blog on their site as “participating” is an outright lie, as well. Your blog may be listed on their site, too – you can check here to see. Do NOT pay them $25 to have ads appear on this site. If you really want to put ads here, I’m happy to talk, but I’m not sure my traffic is really worth your time. Anyway, I wasn’t sure when they first contacted me, but there is no doubt in my mind that Wikimetro is a scam, and you should have nothing to do with them.

Beating a dead horse – DRM

Everyone’s favorite DRM-hater, Cory Doctorow, has pointed us to yet another “DRM server shut down so the content you ‘purchased’ goes away” story. Walmart, Yahoo, Microsoft, now Fictionwise . . . None of them seem to understand the problem with DRM. I’ve stopped buying infinitely copyable goods. i don’t believe in pirating software or music, but I refuse to pay for something that should be free. That’s part of the reason I’m using Linux, listening to music on Jamendo, and things like that. They recognize that you can give away the infinite goods and use them to increase the value of the related scarce goods. I will not purchase anything with any sort of DRM on it. And you shouldn’t either.

It’s our fault the economy sucks

Let’s look back ten years or so. Ford and GM were huge, successful corporations making millions of cars all over the world. Hyundai was a joke, a car that people bought because they couldn’t afford a nice car. Since then, Hyundai has focused on making affordable cars that people want to drive. Ford and GM have focused on making bigger and bigger SUVs and complaining about union wages. So where are we now? Ford and GM are financially insolvent, in need of giant government bailouts. Hyundai is leaving behind their joke reputation and making some pretty decent cars. But why is this our fault? It’s because we are so focused on the sound bytes. When the big three car execs went to Washington with their hands out, what did we report on and talk about? The fact that they flew their corporate jets. Yes, this is a good symbol of the misplaced priorities. But it is such an insignificant part of the problem. It’s not like leaving the corporate jet at home, or even selling it, would have suddenly made GM profitable. Those execs are absurdly rich. Get over it. I know we’re jealous. But even if we make them take pay cuts, we’re still going to be making the same money we do now. The real problem is that, due to mismanagement, failure to plan ahead, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the business they’re in, these execs have gotten into a position where it is better for the country as a whole if we give them millions of dollars. They can’t take all the blame for that – some of it is certainly on us. But to focus on the corporate jets as anything more than a symbol of their incompetence is to brush the real issues under the rug as soon as there’s something we can latch onto and get really fired up about. The issue at hand is that the American car companies don’t make compelling cars (In this country, anyway) and have lost the reputation for quality they used to have. They like to use the unions as an excuse, but the unions are rational human beings who depend on American car companies to make their living – you can negotiate with them and work something out. If you can’t, you’re probably not trying hard enough. If Hyundai can do it, so can you. No more excuses from the Big Three.

Coincidence? What now, University of Michigan?

Last winter, I applied for the open University of Michigan football head coaching position. I was rejected. What happened next? “Coach Rich Rodriguez … guided the Michigan football team to its worst season in its 129-year history in his first year.” (Source). The wife claims my rejection and Michigan’s awful season aren’t related, but she’s just a girl and doesn’t know anything about football (except what I taught her). I’m putting all you big football schools on notice – next time I apply for your open head coaching position, you might want to hire me.

If I were a teen girl

Have you seen the commercials for One a Day Teen Advantage vitamins? I keep seeing them because we’ve gotten hopelessly addicted to NCIS and House reruns on USA. It’s a disease. Anyway, if I were a teen girl, I would be pretty pissed off. The commercial says that there are vitamins designed for teen boys and for teen girls. That’s fine – teen boys and teen girls have different vitamin needs, so it only makes sense to have different vitamins for each of them. But the commercial and their website only mention that girls want healthy skin, and boys want healthy muscles.

Complete Multivitamins for Teen Boys & Girls to Support: * Healthy muscle function with Magnesium (for Him) * Healthy skin with Vitamins A and C, Copper, and Iron (for Her)

Now, as I said, I’m not a teen girl, nor was I ever a teen girl, or a girl of any kind. But I feel I can speak for them when I say that girls need muscles, too. You know, for exercising and playing sports and moving. Does One a Day Teen Advantage really think that the only thing girls might get (or want) from their vitamins is healthy skin? That sounds like a pretty worthless vitamin.

Is Wikimetro a scam?

Recently, I got an email from someone I’d never heard of from wanting to talk about advertising on my site here.

Drupalcon, Who is the contact for discussing advertising on your blog Complaint Hub? We have received 24 requests this week for advertising on Complaint Hub, and the page has been viewed 69 times. Our website,, is the largest online BlogAd marketplace with more than 50,000 blogs in more than 2,300 US cities and towns. Here’s a link to your blog on wikimetro: If you are agreeable to scheduling a time to talk on the phone about this, please tell me a good time by contacting me at this link (choose phone): I’ll cc my assistant to set up a time to talk, if there’s interest. Alex Rawlings Wash DC BlogAd Account Direct Email: Website: Motto: “Everything Local” Frequently Asked Questions: Tel. +1(202) 470-0961

It sounded a bit scammy to me, especially because by addressing me as “Drupalcon”, they clearly didn’t actually look at the site, but just scraped it with some script. A bit of Googling made it sound like Wikimetro was a scam, but nothing really concrete. So I looked at the local blogs they had listed as participants and emailed one I recognized to ask if Off Seventh was actually participating, or just being used to bait others. I got an email back, and it turns out Off Seventh was totally unaware of the deal Wikimetro claimed to have. So, the conclusion I draw from this is that Wikimetro is a scam. If they contact you, I suggest being very cautious. Edit to add: Follow-up from Wikimetro is here.

Experts Exchange sucks

If you’re a programmer, you’ve probably come across Experts Exchange while searching for help on some programming problem. Today I was wondering if sqlldr could generate a table for you, or if you had to make the table, then run sqlldr. It’s not important. Unless you know the answer. Anyway, the first result for whatever it was I searched for was from Experts Exchange. This sucks, because while they let you read the question, you have to pay (or start a free trial) for the answer. So they often come up on Google, but the question is never helpful. Yes, I could pay for the answer. I won’t, but I could. What I’d really like to do is never get results from their site when I search. Can you do that with Google? You should be able to.

Twitter will kill us all

I thought this was idiotic when Gizmodo mentioned it, but now Slashdot says that this is actually the US Army. This is terrifying.

A chapter titled ‘Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter’ notes that Twitter members reported the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets and activists at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements.

Do you know what else is both ubiquitous and super dangerous? AIR. It’s highly flammable, and it’s friggin’ everywhere. I pray every day that no one tells the terrorists. And you know what else is really dangerous? WATER. It makes us drown. Think what could happen if Al Qaeda found that out. And the Earth is over seventy percent water. I hope Osama Bin Laden doesn’t read my blog. You know why education and health care in this country is always short on money? It’s because we pay people to conduct studies like this.

Like a poison dart frog, it’s there to warn you away

The telltale signs will vary – a popped collar, big aviator glasses, whatever the well-dressed DC bar junkie with too much disposable income is using to woo unsuspecting (read: drunk) young women in Georgetown or Dupont – but it’s never too hard to pick out the douchebags. I know, that’s not a really nice word, but I can’t think of anything with a connotation that more closely matches the type of person I’m describing. Anyway, a few weeks back, a guy got on the 16th Street bus (At U St, big surprise) wearing jeans, an untucked button-down shirt, and aviator glasses. My first thought was, “Why do you wear those ridiculous glasses?”. I know it shouldn’t bother me, but it did – I was annoyed that he looked like an idiot. But then I thought a little more. This guy is actually doing me a favor. There is no chance I want to talk to the guy. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I judged this guy, and I know I was right. His glasses, though, are a big warning sign. If he looked like a normal guy who didn’t spend an hour getting ready to go out, I might not know he was a douchebag without talking to him. I might actually waste thirty seconds talking to a guy I would most certainly want to punch. The poison dart frogs use their bright colors to warn away predators, screaming, “I’m poisonous! Don’t eat me!”. This guy uses his glasses to yell, “I’m annoying! Ignore me!”. This is really an important milestone in the evolution of the human race. In fact, if we wait another few generations, we may all self-identify ourselves so accurately that I will never have to talk to another useless person again. It will be easier when we all have location-aware social networking mobile computer/phones and you can check the Facebook profile of the person next to you on the bus. So, next time I see one of these guys, I won’t be so annoyed. In fact, I might even thank him for warning me.