Thursday, June 29, 2006

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

This is a listing of the top 500 supercomputers in the world. Take note of how many of the top 10 supercomputers are in the U.S. Also important are the ones not in the U.S. Have fun.

Are you a paperball master

I was looking over some links and I found this little online game today. My motto is K.I.S.S. Keep it stupid simpleton ;-) and that is what this game is stupid and simple. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Visionary or just plain Weirdness

I was reading an article in Wired and they had an article about Xinghan Chen. He is a USC student studing Interative Media. What is unique about this kid is his games. A while back I heard of a game of his called Cloud. The purpose of the game to basically play in the clouds. It is almost like you are playing in a dream the way the music just glides along while you are playing amongst the clouds.

Another game of his is called Flow. In this game you control some form of aquatic animal that eats other aquatic creatures making it grow and change dynamically. I played this game for about 5 minutes and could have just kept on playing. Again the soothing music in the background along with the vibrant yet soft graphics make it almost relaxing to play.

Both of these games in my opinion are probably the video game equivalent to a coy pond or trimming a bonzai tree. Although they may not be your cup of tea you do have to give credit to someone thinking outside of the box. If you get a chance give them a try and let me know what you think.

Clutter on the Virtual Desktop

Who hear has a desk that has clutter on it, raise your hand. Now that I see a majority of you have raised your hand I have a question to ask. How many of you know exactly where the information you are looking for is in that pile? Whoever still has your hand raised I think I might have found the most perfect program for you.

The program is called BumpTop 3D desktop prototype. Obviously from the name it is still in a very early stage, but what this interface allows the user to do is sort documents, pictures, icon representations of virtual anything into piles. They do not have to be neat and tidy piles necessarily, just virtual piles of papers.

Some of you might say what or what the heck would this be good for. Well to tell you the truth I am not sure, but it could lead to new semantic ways of sorting and organizing items. Although the search and find applications can find your information based on name, or date something of this nature allows to sort by importance or insignificance based on user input.

Take a look at the video and tell me what you think.

The next best thing to being in the game

I was reading about this interesting controller that was on display at this years E3. It is called the Novint Falcon. This little device looks like some sort of device out of iRobot, but might be one of the coolest and most unique devices in recent years. So what does this device actually do? Well it is sort of a replacement for a mouse or game controller. What is so special about this device? Well first it allows you to interact with objects in 3 dimensions, instead of a device like the mouse that only works in a 2-dimensional field. This allows something similar to the Wii controller which allows you to move around in the game.

Another interesting point of the controller is the ability to change the handle or what Novint called the "effector" allowing customization based on the application you are using. If you wanted to use the device for 3d modeling you might use a completely different handle than one used for a flight sim.

The most revolutionary part of this device is the touch sensations that this controller provides. It provides tactile feedback as well as weight distribution. Now there have been other haptic devices, but they have not allowed as much interaction as this device. For instance Logitech released a product with haptic response calld the
iFeel mouse, this differs from the Falcon because it allows interactivity inside programs as well as 3 dimensions and gives the users more of a response than just a slight vibration. What this means for gamers is beyond moving around in a game the user can now feel inside the game. If you pick up a baseball bat and swing it in a game you feel the weight of the bat, the momentum of the swing, and the collision with an object. It could also allow you feel a stone wall or a rod iron fence. More than just being a "cool" feature it could actually add an extra dimension to the game. It could for instance give you more of an accurate response in a racing game by allowing you to feel the G-force in a turn and correcting for it.

This device should be on sale in time for christmas for around $100. It might only be a niche product, but at the least it might be something interesting to give to someone who has everything.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Are you a bad customer beware

I was reading an article outlining how some companies are dealing with bad customers. Bad customers are those that are money leaks. Those that do not do anything, but hinder profitability. Read this articles and tell me do you think you are a bad customer?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Arrrr, we be music pirates.

What does everyone think about music piracy? The first question to ask is whether you think it is right or wrong to pirate music to begin with. I think a better question would be WHY people pirate music. I want to explore this question along with, current solutions, and possible future solutions.

Lets go back in time a bit to the advent of music. Music has been around for a heck of a lot longer than I have been around. It is so old that there is some evidence that it even predates spoken word. That makes it pretty damn old. Every culture in the history of the world has had some form of music and it has gone to reflect their culture. Bards used it to tell stories and slaves used it to communicate. It seems so basic that you see it in nature all of the time. Birds sing to each other all of the time so do many other animals including whales, dolphins, and monkeys. So we have pretty much establishd that music has been around for a while and has been pretty important so lets move forward to the history of the content medium.

The bad thing about music before the advent of the recording device is that to listen to it you would have to go to your local concert or if you were well off have your court minstrels play a nice little diddy for ya. Unfortunately the majority of the populace at any given time did not have either of those luxuries they were worried more about food or shelter. It was not until Mr. Thomas Alfa Edison would come along and create the first recorded human voice in 1877. This would go on to be one of the biggest inventions to rock the music world.

With the creation of the first musical recording came the first time people could enjoy a previous recorded concert. First there were wax cylinders, then phonograph records, then came electrically created records. It was not unitl 1933 with Wurlitzer's Jukebox did music come to the masses. In the late 40s early 50s the vinyl record as we came to know it was becoming a popular medium to playback you swiging hits. Next came reel to reel, 8-tracks, and finally casette tapes. The next invention would be the next revolution the CD. This would finally end the analog music error this would also be the beginning a war that is brewing to this day.

With all the older formats there was a small risk of musical replication because as copies were created each successive copy was worse than the previous version becuase of the physical way the sound was copied. With the CD you can have a bit for bit copy there is no degredation in signal you can make a million exact copies off of the orginal and never theortically have a bad copy. This was not a large deal due to the fact that many people did not have the equipment to actually create these copies. It was not until the CD-ROM for the computer started becoming popular. Once these became a standard component of modern computers everybody who owned a computer had the ability to create these illegal music copies. At this time though the record industry still was not bothered by this becuase although illegal and easy to do there was still no easy way to trade a lot of music. Burners were still pretty slow and dial up was just coming into the picture and it would take quite a while to download one song. Also the music format to save the music in was is called a WAV file which was an exact lossless duplication of the song from the CD which could be around 30MB for a 3 minutes song. This would take an eternity to download online

Then came what was to be the ever painfully thorn in the music industries butt, the advent of the MP3 (Motion Picture Experts Group layer 3). Now for those who have been playing Rip Van Winkel for the last 15 years this is the preferred codec (COmpressorDECompressor) for saving a song from a digital medium to a computer. What this little codec allowed was a song to be copied from a CD to a computer and instead of being 30 MB for a song it could cut it down to about 3MB and have roughly similar quality. This is about the same time broadband computer connections were starting to become more popular with DSL and Cable connections leading the way. This looks like it might be starting to rile some feathers, but not until the advent of a certain program did everyone take notice that program was Napster.

This was the start of the online music revolution. With increased speeds of the broadband connection, the compressed file sizes, and PCs with CD-ROMs the only issue was sharing your collection. Before Napster you might be able to burn a CD for a friend or download music from IRC channels, but both of these required a user to request the file or some technical know how. Their was a couple of things that made Napster so popular. First was a pretty simple interface and usability. All you had to do was search for your song similar to doing a search on Google and you would get a list of songs to download. Another unique technology was the use of P2P (Peer-to-Peer). This allowed a person to download a song directly from another users computer. You did not have to know the person or anything about them that was handled by the software program. This was the final straw for the recording industry and some artists. Metallica lead the assault and by September 2002 Napster was shutdown. The biggest hole in their business model was that the files were hosted on their servers this is known as a Centralized P2P client. Becuase it was proven that they were facilitation of piracy and they had the copyrighted works on their server they were held liable. This was just beginning of both the revolution and war.

The next big technology that came about was Decentralized P2P the difference is more symantic than anything, but a difference nonetheless. Instead of directly hosting the files on their servers for the clients to download all traffic is from one peer to another peer. The software just allows a gateway from one to the other. This lead to the creation of companies such as Kazaa, Grokster, Limewire to name a view. Grokster is most famous for losing a Supreme Court case on the subject of copyright infringement. The case did not say that companies and technolgies behind music downloads are illegal, but how the company portrays itself. In this instance Grokster opening admitted on their website to be trading in illegal software, music, and movie downloads. This lead to their shutdown in 2004. Oh but this is not the end of the story quite yet.

What this lead to was the symantic changes in advertising and business models. The P2P companies could not openly say they were offering illegal downloads and would say they were against it. This would abide by the rules of the Supreme Court ruling, but this ruling also meant that these companies could be sued. So what happens when you take away the servers altogether yet still give the ability to download music from peers. You are left with one of the largest saps of bandwidth, bittorrent.

Created by Bram Cohen, this software allows for the sharing of file much like the other P2P clients, but does not require a central repository of the files. This allows downloaders(leechers) to download fragments of file from multiple uploaders(seeders) and once you have a fragment you seed that with everyone else sharing until everyone has a full copy. At this point in time there have been reports that 35-70% of all bandwidth is being consumed by this file sharing. After that lengthy discourse of the technology behind the file sharing craze lets look at the reasoning why people don't want to pay for the music from the store.

There are many theories on this, but the first was that many people for a long time did not think it was wrong. The complete, supposed, anonymity of the technology allowed for anyone to just open up the software download a song and listen to it. There were no warning no messages every time you played the song to say it was wrong. Second is that it was easy. Again you can just open up the software and download it and not have to go to the store and worry about driving to the store, paying for the song, and then going home. It was all there at your fingertips. Third is that it is free. Who would buy the song when you can easily get a copy for free. Going along with the concept of being for free was the idea of why someone would have to buy a complete album costing $10-$20 when all they wanted was one song. This I believe was an issue of the Record industries greed and not giving the consumer choice and the consumer backlashing against the industry. Also it has been increasing difficult to find some older music fare. It was and probably still is easier to go online and download than to buy the CD outright. These are just some theories, but the answer is probably little mix of them all. So what has the record Industry done to correct this problem.

Well besides suing their customers into submission they have decided to fight fire with fire, sort of. What might have started as a blight on the muic industry might turn into its savior and I refer to is the digital download. Industries duch the the RIAA are large corporations still run using business models of yesterday. It is hard for them to change as fast as technology does that is why a technology company has come to its rescue so to speak. Apple computers unveiled the IPOD in Oct 2001. Although there were other manufacturers of digital music players none other have come close to the popularity of the IPOD. Over the years IPOD has become a name brand such as Kleenex and Windows. They currently have a commanding share of the digital music players around the world, but the IPOD would be nothing without the software behind it, ITUNES.

iTunes might be part of the saving grace of the record industry it is also a bane to its users. For the recording industry it allowed or the legal sale of music to the consumer on a per track or album basis. It also institued a one nonfluctating price model for single song downloads, $0.99. This looks great for both the consumer and the RIAA. It allows the users to download music legally alacarte and the music industry is able to get its share of the revenue. Unfortunately not everything is all hunky-dorey. Just like most extremely good deals there is a catch or multple catches. First is the quality of the recording that is avaiable. Currently Apple only allows for songs to be downloaded at a 128bit sample in the propriety AAC format.
When you buy a CD you get a 1440bit sample that is the closest the mass consumer can get to the original recording. As you can see you are getting about 1/10 of the best. For most people this is not a problem because most of the extra bits are non-audible, but for some audiophiles this is a big deal. Apple is working on an answer for this with the introduction of a lossless audio compression format which will allow for a larger download, but an exact copy of the CD bit rate. The second issue which is probably the largest problem for many people is DRM.

DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. In simplest terms DRM prevents the unauthorized transfer from digital files from one person to another. Without this technology it would theoretically be possible for users to download the song once them upload the song to anyone that wanted it for free. With DRM in place this is not possible. When you download a song information about the device downloading the song is encoded into the file. When a song is played back this information is compared againt the device trying to play the song. If the information does not match you cannot play the song simple as that. This is not necessarily a bad thing knowing what the RIAA has been through with Napster they wanted to make sure that it was not going to happen again. What this does lead to is problems with what you can do with the music once you have it.

Since the music is tied directly to the computer there can be issues if you want to transfer your music to a new computer, if you want to transfer your music to multiple digital devices, if and how many CDs you can burn of your music, editing and sampling of songs, etc. If you were to buy a CD with the same music none of these issues come up and dollar for dollar you simply get a better value if you want to buy an album. This is because if you buy the album from the store it will cost at most $15. At iTunes becuase it is $0.99 a track you might have to spend more(unless there are special pricing on albums). Once I have the CD I first have a hard copy that is independent of the computer or device I play it on. Also I can make as many copies as I want on as many devices as I want. I am also getting a much higher quality copy and I can choose what format to save it in. All in all there is just more flexability to the consumer for buying the CD at a store. Now unfortunately the RIAA would say that everything you do besides play the CD is illegal. Another issue not necessarily of DRM, but of the IPOD itself and iTunes is the format that the music is which is the AAC format.

As you might have remembered early in this article I explained that the most popular format is MP3. This is where the problem in flexability occurs with the use of the iTunes music store. Most consumers do not realize that once you buy an Ipod an start downloading music from their store you are stuck with an Ipod device as long as you want to play any of the music you downloaded from their store. This is becuase iTunes only allows you to download music in this format and it is only playable on their devices. If you wanted to buy a competeing device from a different company you unfortuneately will not be able to play any of the music you had previously downloaded from iTunes. This effectively locks the consumer into buying the Ipod indefinately, which realistically borders on monopolistic behavior. Something that Microsoft is well aware of in its multiple monopoly hearings. So what solutions or alternatives are out there.

Well not many to be quite honest. Yes there are a host of music delivery systems from Napster(reborn like a phoenix), to Rhapsody, to Microsoft's own URGE. There are even more devices from pioneers like Creative, or deveopers over seas such as COWON and IRIVER. With all these different choices comes a billion different combinations of what works with what and what plays what. It is quite mind boggling which is why Apple wins becuase a person asks someone what they should buy that is easy to use and that friend probably having this same question before says Ipod of course. So what is the problem. Well DRM is one major obstacle without it and the RIAA will think everyone will go back to pirating and with it you are a prisoner of our own media. There is at least one download service that says to heck to DRM and has actually carved out such a niche that it is currently 2nd only to iTunes in downloads and that is eMusic.

What eMusic gives the consumer is ultimate flexibilty and cometeing price point. First it only offers MP3 downloads with no DRM. Which being the most flexible format available allows the consumer to copy it to as many devices as possible including computers, digital audio players (DAPS), and CDs. Not having to worry about DRM or competing formats means that the next music player you buy does not have to be from any particular company you can choose any of them. The other major point is the price point. Working on a subscription model. For 9.99 a month you can donload 40 tracks. This breaks down to $0.25 per track. Music lower than that of iTunes or any major competitor. With all this great news why is this not the defacto online music store. As I mentioned before they do not offer DRM on their music and with the issues the RIAA ran into before they are very hestitant not to have their music protected. None of the major 4 studios offers music downloads from eMusic. What this limits download to is not having top 40 or rap, but does offer more indie and other genres. eMusic has been working on acquiring as many of the smaller labels as possible in the hopes to one day getting one of the major players. What do you think will be the future solution of digital music?

I believe for one that piracy will not quite stop. It is too easy and too prevalent not to exist. Piracy can be a bad thing, but it can also be a good thing. With piracy people can sample before they buy. Some people will of course not buy, but they might and the more widespread the more people there will be to try it. When it comes to DRM I really hope it would just dissappear I know this might be a dream, but with the rise in popularity of eMusic if at least one major label decides to cross the line it could turn the industry on its ear. Ultimately it is the consumer that will have the final say. The record industry, artists, and Apple are only around becuase there are consumers that will buy the product. If the consumer decides that it is not working they will make the final decision. What do you think?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

And the winner is?

If anyone with a penchant for games or technology is out there you are probably already aware of the next generation of game systems and the war that is going on with them. I speak in terms of war because to these companies this generation could be make it or break it time. For instance:

  • By the time the Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 3 are released the Xbox 360 will have had a year head start and a possible 10 million unit advantage

  • Sony and Microsoft are involved in a heated battle not just on the game system field, but also on the next generation content deliver systems (Sony with Blue-Ray and Microsoft with HD-DVD)

  • Sony already losing part of the war with the PSP vs Nintendo DS, will have a large reason to tryto come out on top with the PS3.

  • Sony has with the last 2 consoles not been the first to introduce it, but have gone on to eclipse and sometimes destroy their rivals (Sega Saturn came out before the PS1 and the Sega Dreamcast came out before the PS2. With their failed Dreamcast system, Sega would end up stop creating video game consoles).

  • Sony has yet to introduce a propriety content medium that has been successful (Betamax, Minidisc, Memory stick, UMD have all failed to attract a large audience)

  • Nintendo at one time had a predominat share of the market until Sony introduced the Playstation. Last generation was particularly brutal on Nintendo with all third-party devolopers at the time of this article backing out of further development on the Game Cube, Nintendo's answer the the PS2.

Here are some facts behind the new consoles

  • Price: Sony PS3 499-599, Xbox 360 299-399, Nintendo Wii sub 250.

  • Content delivery systems: Sony P3 Blue-ray with the theoretical capacity of 50GB, Xbox 360 with a top end capacity of ~9GB per disc. Nintendo Wii with a top end capacity of ~9GB per disc.

  • All systems will have some sort of online component, but Microsoft will charge for their's (but they do have a longer history of online content which started with the original Xbox)

  • All systems will offer Wi-Fi with at least the premium version of their product.
  • HD support: P3 1080p, Xbox 360 780p and 1080i, Nintendo Wii NA.

  • Internal HDD: PS3 20-60GB, Xbox 360 20GB(premium model), Nintendo Wii unknown.

  • processing: PS3 special multicore IBM Cell processor running at 3.2GHz, Xbox 360 a 3 core IBM PowerPC processor running at 3.2GHz a piece. Nintendo Wii unknown IBM POWERPC chip

  • Graphics processing unit: PS3 550MHz RSX GPU, Xbox360 500 MHz Ati GPU, Nintendo Wii ATI "Hollywood" GPU.

Even with all these specs an numbers only time and game lineup will tell which will be the champion this next generation.

Question of the Day

I was walking the other day through the forest (not to grandmother's house) and something just struck me, can trees and plants get cancer. You would think yes becuase they are biological, but I have not really heard of anything like that. They really don't screen for such a thing as far as I know.

Well after doing some research I found that yes indeed plants can get cancer. A plant cancer is called a "gall". They are caused by many different sources all seem to be external like bacteria and insects. The gall itself is a way the plant protects itself from the unwanted entity. The gall looks like a exteral ball or tumor on any part of the plant. From what else I read technically the gall would be considered a parasite becuase it is living off of the hosts tissue. If too many galls form the plant will die, but a plant can exist with a certain amount of galls.

After further research I found that treating plants with known antioxydants like beta-carotene can prevent certain cancers. I guess this is the same in humans as well. There seems to be no conclusive evidence, but there are many theories and trials going on to find out if antioxydants prevent hard disease and cancer.

So to sume everything up yes plants can get cancer, but they can survive it much better than humans can. Any comments or thoughts?

Friday, June 23, 2006

We finally get to see Quake II's competition

I just finished playing a bit of the new PREY demo. All I can say is that this game is really trippy. For instance it makes use of a portal system in which you can enter a rift to go from one area to a completely different area in another part of the level. An example of this was one part of the level in which you enter a room with glass case containing what looks like a beige bowling ball. In this same room is a portal. When you enter the portal you are transported to what looks like a beige version of a populous 3 level. Then you see in the distance an enemy that appears normal in size then increase to be larger than the globe you are standing on. What happens next is amazing. The enemy that you saw coming towards you is actually in the same room you were just in. You had been transported from inside the room inside the box that was holding the beige bowling ball you were previously looking at. The enemy then joins you on this tan planet and trys to wipe you off the face of it. This would I say be one of those moments in gaming history where you go "wow that blew my mind why have they not thought of this before".

This is just one of many unique situations that can be encountered in this game. In another instance I enter a room and are attacked by a group of enemies. I then walk through the door they just entered and find myself upside in the same room I had just left. Seeing is believing. I would equate this games level design to something out of an MC Escher nightmare. Since I have only played but an hour of the demo I cannot give a full review, but what I can say is that I will be "preying" for more.

Ajax and I just thought it was a kitchen clenser

So as you may or may not know Web 2.0 is finally here with all of its AJAX, wikis, and blogs. What is Web 2.0 mean for you? What is AJAX? Why should I care? Why is the sky blue? All of these questions can be answered if you bare with me.

First off I hate all these stupid buzzwords. The term Web 2.0 doesn't even really mean anything. It is just basically a term concoted by O'Reilly Media and MediaLive International for a conference comparing old and new technologies. It sort of refers to the way things went from non dynamic, non social, non asyncronous to a more robust, social, almost application type style. For instance this blog right here would be something that is part of Web 2.0. It allows for social interaction, as well a constantly changing information based on contributions not only by the admins, but by the community as well. For instance I can add a post and everyone out there reading it can in real time add their comments and tell me how lame and boring it is. That is the beauty of it. You may ask what the heck is different with this than with that of a forum. Well the differences are semantic in a way. Let's take a blog as an example. I or you a "normal" person can create a social application that others can contribute to that is easy to setup and control. It is not centralized, it is not in the large corporations interests, it is yours, mine, and ours. Like I said it is a lot of semantics. There is an interesting wiki on this here: Now onto one of the major technologies behind Web 2.0, AJAX.

Now I am sure everyone who is in a tech field, especially web based, has heard of that awful term AJAX. Now you are probably saying AWFUL why would he use such a term to something that has been quite innovation and important to the web. Well it is like the first time you heard the Macarena it was different, catchy, even a little cool, but after being bombarded with the song from every possible angle immaginable you just wished for the day someone would just pop your eardrums. The term is just getting a bit overused like Bennifer or Brangelina. Now I heard the other day someone wants to coin the term Fjax. What's next KPAX (oops too late).

I guess I should go a little deeper and explain what it is and why it is sooo important. AJAX = Asynchronous Javascript And XML. What does this mean? Well it means that if a webpage you are on is coded using this style it will act as if it were a desktop application. It will seem more interactive and instantaneous. This is done by sending data back to the server every time you change something and then data being sent back at the same time to update the page. This works much better than regular webpages because you don't have to wait for the entire page to refresh after you have made changes, they occur in real time. This makes everything just seem more fluid. Pros it is similar to a desktop applications. Cons try using a back button (it sort of breaks it) and if the network is slow it really does not update in real time. What this could be the beginning of is something akin to a shift or a transition. Moving from desktop based applications to webbased applications. Using powerful tools such as AJAX you can theoretically create applications like Spreadsheets and Text Editors (actually not so theorical anymore). With so many people gaining access to broadband internet connections this could be the start of a revolution between web based and locally based applications.

When it comes down to it, if you ask me, I think the term Web 2.0 was coined to help lift the Web up a little after the .com bust. I mean for a while I think people lost interest. It was a wild trip with companies that never made a profit sipping Cristal and having big money fights. People were millionares on paper, but spending it like it was real. When everything finally corrected itself the reality tree was shaken and all the worthless apples fell leaving only the strong to survive. Because of this there was fear of the internet (at least for investors). The internet for all intensive pruposes is like a child that is still growing and maturing. It will have its share of accidents, but like a smart child it will learn from its mistakes and become stronger. It will also mature, become deeper, develop its own personality, become more social, etc. That I think is what "Web 2.0" is the start of. A next step in something that is constantly changing. It might be just another buzzword, but it is also shows how it does change and how much, rather you like it or not, it has become quite important to everyones life. I am sure this is just the start. I am sure there will be a WEB 3.0 along with Internet2. What this really means is that it will get better with time and in the long run it will be worth it for everyone.

Another one bites the dust

Another day down. I am glad it is Friday. What do I have planned today, oh well, a whole lot of nothing. Yes I lead an interesting life of getting up early, going to work, eating, maybe excercising, sitting in front of the computer and go to sleep. Somewhere along the way I do find time to spend with my Fiancee, but not nearly as much as she would like ;-).

I wish I had more to report today. My fiancee thinks this whole blog is stupid. I say oh well maybe one day when we are old we can look back on this and enjoy these memories. I will probably have to read them because I probably will not remember them anyways.

Now comes the weekend full of doing wonderful things like chores (laundry, vacuum, and dishes oh my). I also have to take the car in for an oil change and clean up my room. Which at this point looks like Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Well that is it for today, talk to you later.

Another tale of Terror

I heard this yesterday on the news and I was reading more on this story this morning, but a supposed plot to blow up the Sears tower in Chicago was stopped when agents captured 7 people in Miami. This especially hits home becuase I am originally from Chicago and was just at the Sears tower over Memorial Day weekend. I was joking with the people I was with about scenarios in which terrorists could seize control of the Sears tower. Security was good at the Tower, but I think if someone wanted to do it they could. I don't think the United States will ever be the same after the incident in New York.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

DDR's Future?

Well this should be filled under what the @#$@$#@$. If only I could be this coordinated. Take a look at what I am talking about.

Customers? Who needs Customers?

I was reading about a couple of incidents that involved customer service representatives that would not allow customers to cancel their AOL accounts without first having to waste tons of time. For instance the most famous case I have seen was one involving Vincent Ferrari. He was the gentleman that recorded his conversation and posted it on the web. He has was interviewed by Matt Lauer the other day on the Today show. There was another case in which a mother who was killed in the car accident and her daughter was trying to cancel the account. At one point after explaining multiple times that her mother was dead the rep told her that he was just trying to come up with a solution that would work for everyone. These cases seem to be extensive, but even my own family ran into the same problems canceling AOL. My dad was contacted by AOL becuase the credit card he used to setup the account was going to expire. We had not used that account in probably 5 years. They got snippy with him and said that he would have call back to cancel the account. Eventually it was cancelled, but does AOL think that they are going to gain my customers or keep them with these gestapo tactics?

I know that we my unfairly picking on AOL becuase I am sure there are many other companies out there that have these same type of customer relation snaffus. Has anyone else run into these types of issues?

And now something you will really enjoy

Well I guess this will be my first real post. Good news happened to me yesterday, I just received a promotion. Now I am officially on my way to total nerdom ;-P. I let my Fiancee know first and then I let my Dad know. It was a pretty joyous day. Tash and I ended up going to this restaurant called Carrabas in celebration.

Yesterday was also the day I decided to start playing with this Blog thing. I really don't have a direction yet. I am not sure if I just want to make this a private blog for my family and me. Maybe I will share this with all of my friends who can contribute information to it. Maybe I can even use it to desiminate interesting articles I pick up on around the web. I think we will see it evolve over time until I am happy with what I have or maybe I will end up splitting it up to different blogs all together.

Well enjoy your time with my Daily Scribbles. Make comments let me know what you think or anything really. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

In the beginning....

This is my first post. This is a test. I could use that fancy latin stuff, but I figure who cares because this is a test.