Monday, June 25, 2007

June 24th 2007

On June 24th, I was exactly half as old as my Dad. I was 30 years and 24 days and he was 60 years 48 days. So we celebrated by playing golf at the Lake of Isles. The course is probably one of the most challenging that I have ever played, but some of the holes are absolutely breathtaking. We had a great day of golf! Take a look at the pictures below in the new Picasa slideshow embed.

Quote of the Day

"For my part, I believe Jesus had no politics, let alone the big government politics of our time. And the attempt of both right and left to coopt his truth corrupts faith and politics simultaneously." - Andrew Sullivan

Friday, June 22, 2007

Senators: Not Serious on Ethanol

A couple of days ago, the Club for Growth blog mentioned that the Senate had rejected an amendment to eliminate the 54 cent tariff on imported Ethanol. This strikes me as completely disingenuous at a time when the same Senators are concerned about price gouging for gasoline. Just for fun I used Google Maps to create this map showing how the Senators from each state voted. Now we have a visual representation of where the real price gougers live!

Update: A picture of the map is now included below.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fingerjig - Flash Fun

For the past couple of days, I have been playing around with Fingerjig, which is a typing game done in flash animation. The game consists of a series of seven typing test using random words out of the dictionary - the first two focus on relatively short words, followed by a test of individual letter, then come two tests of words that use only one hand, and finally two tests that use long words like communicativeness.

Based on the final scores, it looks like I am basically an average to slightly above average typist - I am typing in the mid forty words per minute, after accounting for errors and have a high score in the 700,000's. Interestingly, I am better with my left hand even though I am right handed. If you are looking to test your typing with a fun online animation, check out Fingerjig!

Sad News from Ocean City

Sadly, Ocean City had its first drowning of the year this past weekend and at least as of the time of the linked article the victim's body had not been recovered. Our hearts go out to the family members who now have to cope with the loss of a loved one on a day that was supposed to be filled only with fun.

Here is another link with a picture of the attempted search and recovery.

Remember to always swim near a lifeguard and to swim parallel to shore when caught in a rip current.

Update: Here is a link to a blog post with additional pictures.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Now On Skype

Update: So I also tried out Youtube's new Remixer feature to create the version of the video below. I guess the issue with using the quick capture uploader for webcams is that you cannot cut out the beginning and end of the video so I think that is a key application for the Remixer. Remixer uses Adobe's technology so it has the same look and feel as Premier Elements, which I use on my PC. It was really easy to edit out the portions of the video where I was not looking at the camera and I even added a neat border. It looks like Remixer videos have a slightly different play box from regular videos, which is king of interesting. My only gripe is that Remixer creates an entirely new video and does not give the option to replace the original so I guess I would have to manually delete that if I wanted to do that. I am not sure that I am going to use this feature a ton, but it is still kind of fun.

Update 2: Interestingly enough when I embedded the video in this webpage, the edits remain but the border is not there. You have to click through to see it. I wonder if this is intended or not...

Green Day for Darfur?

So Green Day has dedicated their music video for Working Class Hero to raising awareness of the horrific situation in Darfur where allegedly government backed militias are systematically eliminating the local population. We have heard about the horrible problem in Darfur for a few years now, but finding a solution remains elusive. In the video, one of the people who fled Darfur states that he does not want military might, but that he just wants UN peacekeepers to protect the civilians. Come on, what does he think UN peacekeepers are other than military might? I would even go so far to say that peacekeepers are ineffective at best. In my view the better approach would be for the people, like Green Day, who care about the people of Darfur to contribute money to arm them so that they can defend themselves. The problem in Darfur is certainly ugly, but the solution is equally ugly. Thinking that there could possibly be a clean solution borders on fantasy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Stick with the marketing message...

... only if you want to turn off the customer.

Here is an interesting article by Charles Green at Trust Advisers commenting on situations where the marketing message does not help the sales process. I think that the real issue here is that after almost a century of mass marketing broadcasts, consumers and business decision makers can easily discern which marketing messages apply to them and which do not.

As consumers we constantly find ourselves inundated with marketing messages and sales pitches. Many actually apply us and our situation, but many more do not. If we were not able to weed out the messages that apply from the ones that did not we would never be able to make any decision due to information overload. That is where sticking to the marketing message, particularly the wrong marketing message, can absolutely destroy the credibility of a salesperson in the eyes of the customer.