Monday, September 30, 2013

Superman's clothes

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So here's a question that's bothered me for some time: Why are Superman's clothes just as indestructible as he is?

It seems to me that they should get burnt up when he flies at ludicrous speed. At the very least, when he is shot, the fabric should get damaged as the bullets bounce off of his body. I suppose the question of whether or not it requires dry cleaning would just be silly, though.

Did his little spacecraft from Krypton come with a lifetime supply of super-clothing? And in his size? Or did it perhaps come with bolts of super-fabric and super equipment that can cut and sew it? Was it the same outfit he got as a baby, stretching to size like some kind of super Lycra? Maybe that explains why he wears tights?

I can't be the first person to ask this question. In all seriousness, is this something comic fans have asked before? Is it something that ever had an official answer?

Ziggy for September 30, 2013

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I've had this conversation with myself on several occasions. But paper financial records are a real pain in the neck compared to Excel spreadsheets. And solitaire really is more fun on a computer.

It is, however, a bit sobering to realize that the only things I need a computer for could be satisfied with what was state of the art in 1995. If I can run Excel, some simple puzzle games, and a web browser, the rest really doesn't matter. And the web browser is primarily just to pay bills, read comics and go shopping on Amazon. I could probably replace it all with an iPod Touch, if not for the fact that I really love my 24" monitor.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bubby's Restaurant

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While conducting an unrelated web search, I ran across this restaurant and decided that I need to go visit this place next time I happen to be in New York (or Tokyo, I suppose...)

I think a hearty midnight brunch would be the perfect way to finish an evening after seeing a Broadway show.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

iPhone map app directs Fairbanks drivers onto airport taxiway

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iPhone map app directs Fairbanks drivers onto airport taxiway

How embarrassing.

Even more embarrassing that Fairbanks airport apparently does not (or at least did not) have a gate or guard at the service entrance. I guess it wasn't an issue until now.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The old "we're from windows" scam

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Three times this past week, I've gotten phone calls with the "Windows tech support" scam.

For those unfamiliar, you get a phone call from someone (often with a Russian accent) claiming to be an employee of "Windows". No, not Microsoft, they are very clear to point that out. They claim your computer is full of viruses and that you need to install their software to let them clean it up.

If you're dumb enough to do this, their software locks your computer. You then have to pay these people several hundred dollars every months in order to use your computer. When you stop paying, their software bricks your computer.

So far, I've been threatening to report these people to the FBI, but unfortunately, they are using spoofed caller ID numbers (the most recent one is from 474-475-1328 - which is a non-existent area code. As a result, the national do-not-call list is useless, as is Verizon's service for tracking down criminal abuse of the phone system.

Does anyone have a clue what else I can do to find the bastards and nail their balls to the floor? If you know someone in the FBI or other appropriate government agency and can forward this to them, please do so. I'll testify in court. Heck, I'll flip the switch if they can be given the death penalty.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dilbert for September 16, 2013

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If only it was that easy...

EZ-Pass is watching you all over New York

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Forbes writes, in E-ZPasses Get Read All Over New York (Not Just At Toll Booths) that New York City has EZ-Pass readers all over the city. They track the devices, allegedly for the purpose of detecting congestion and directing traffic:

It's part of Midtown in Motion, an initiative to feed information from lots of sensors into New York's traffic management center. A spokesperson for the New York Department of Transportation, Scott Gastel, says the E-Z Pass readers are on highways across the city, and on streets in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, and have been in use for years. The city uses the data from the readers to provide real-time traffic information, as for this tool.

Maybe so, but, as the article cites, the EZ-Pass terms and conditions do not state that this is a permitted use of the device. And if one agency is using it for one purpose, you can be sure that in the future, more agencies in more jurisdictions will use it for more purposes, and some may be a lot more intrusive than dynamically adjusting on-line traffic maps.

I never got EZ-Pass, because I don't travel through toll booths that often, and I don't like the idea of paying a monthly service fee to have the device. With this piece of news, now I think I've got a much stronger reason than "I don't want to pay for it."

Monday, September 09, 2013

Slate: The Lewis Model Explains Every Culture In The World

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A recent article in Slate briefly discusses British linguist Richard Lewis's theory of how to categorize the behavior of every culture in the world.

I don't think I agree with every aspect of the theory, but it is interesting. I think it will be especially useful in helping to manage business relationships with individuals from around the world. I think it will be far less useful in understanding global politics, since governments often behave in ways contrary to the local culture.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Slate: Tales of an Ex–Microsoft Manager

This Slate article describes a Microsoft practice called "stack ranking" where the actual competence of employees is irrelevant to their compensation, instead dishing out awards and punishments based solely on how they compare against their coworkers.

The result is that instead of A-players wanting to be teamed with other A-players (as Steve Jobs described the natural state of a development organization), you end up with A-players wanting to be teamed with B-players, in order to ensure that their achievements will result in rewards and not punishments. The result is lousy products, engineers that don't care, and managers that are required to make the problem worse.

Why do I get the sinking feeling that most corporations do this, or something equally brain-dead?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Washington Post: Archives readies a schoolgirl’s records and a trove of Jewish treasures for return to Iraq

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Washington Post: Archives readies a schoolgirl’s records and a trove of Jewish treasures for return to Iraq

Wow! This find is incredible. I am just very saddened by the fact that all this Jewish material is going to be sent back to Iraq. No Muslim government is going to treat this with the respect it deserves. It should be sent to Israel, where the majority of the formerly-Iraqi Jews now live.

The US Holocaust museum would be another appropriate place.