Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Microsoft Touch Wall


I read in USA Today that Microsoft has new touch screen technology in front. I think it is time that natural user interface technology has come forward. The development of aggresive CPU means that computer can spend more time doing user interface work rather than say, crunching numbers. The touch wall is especially interesting. I think it is an incredible piece of technology.

However, I don't think that touch wall is the future. Surface touch table makes sense, and I want to see it happens, but touch wall? I don't think so. What I want is a magic wand. You know, Harry Potter like wizard's wand. Actually just a laser pointer.

This is not a technological problem. We have had light gun technology forever. A simple laser attachment will work, too. Buttons can be put on the wand. Voice recognition can be added. This is not a technological problem, but a design issue.

For now, though, we have touch screen. I hope it's time that UI designers will come up with dynamic user interface that changes shape according to user's will so that they can work effectively. In the meantime, I'm satistified with stylus.

Also on the same page, it seems that people earning more than $35,000 pilfer more office supplies than those earning less. If this is true, and I don't doubt it, then that reflects the dismal state of our workforce where greed and incompetence are being rewarded over honesty and hard work. I certainly wouldn't want to work there. There can be no business model without integrity and honesty built into the system.

Lowering Landing Gear Extra


So I just read the newspaper of how the airlines are desperately trying to squeeze profit by charging everything. "we get a tin can flying into the air and you pay for everything else" is how they put it. There are hidden fees all over the place. Sandwich? Extra.

They routinely book more passengers per plane than available seats. Meaning people will have to be shuffled. What happens when there comes a time when overloaded schedule means people cannot be shuffled? Such as that snow stormy Thanksgiving Day? Would people settle for not going home that one special week for "free (but heavily restricted)" voucher to fly four months later?

"fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." the airline industry is a SERVICE industry! Without good service, the airline will flounder! Richard Branson of Virgin Airline once said that you don't cut service to lower prices. You provide superior service and quality, then people will flock to your company, then you can afford to lower your prices!

It's not rocket science. When a service industry does not provide service, it will fail. Don't blame the economy or fuel prices! I think British Airways responded to Virgin Airlines by illegal means that they have to settle the matter in court. That's obviously a wrong headed way to run a business.

It's not the only one, though. I wonder whether this is a failure of school in general, or just HR. However, the problem is very real. Phone companies who changed the service agreement terms underhandedly will certainly lose a customer, possibly for life. When suddenly "Free" is loaded with tons of hidden fees, you're just opening your company to lawsuits. And when, not if, your customer ran, don't expect people to bail you out. In fact, they may just opposed your request for loans.

Who can we trust? Personally, something with hidden fees hurts more than a more expensive thing without. People on ARM found this out the hard way. When I was quoted 4 points over standard, I asked "what's the ceiling?" Without one, I simply walked away. Free costs too much.

So here you are 13000 feet in the air, and the pilot announced that the company cuts cost by not servicing the hydraulic system. "I want $100 per passenger or I won't be lowering the landing gear when we land." Can we sue for extortion?

So, everybody complains about fuel prices. If tire prices quadrupled tomorrow, what are you going to do? Give up? Rising prices is a fact of life. Sometimes it goes higher than expected, but everyone is impacted the same way. I think it's time for these business schools to start earning their fare and start producing quality graduates. Too much stupidity hurts, and hurts bad.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No Power


I was in Oakwood, IL, when I stop for the day. What did I notice? Power outage. The whole block has no power! No electricity means lights don't work, and more importantly, cash registers don't work. No power means no sale.

That's too bad. I think Americans today take it for granted that power will always be available. As you can see, that's not always true. How about that Millenium bug scare a while back? People were stocking food and generators. How quickly people forget.

You would think that people will have a fallback plan for when things go wrong. That's what emergency preparedness is all about. You'd think that store managers would at least sell things and write the receipt on paper by hand. No access to cash register? Ask for exact change or generous tip, or IOU that expires in a few hours. It's not that hard to plan and do.

Yet, people were milling around doing nothing. No power, no sale. And that's that.

Huh? This is supposed to be a great country? People with American Ingenuity? Mexicans can do better than that!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Computer Usage


"Race to the bottom" comment notwithstanding, I use my laptop very rarely now. The order of frequency usage is Treo phone, Asus EEE PC, Laptop. Talk about ridiculous CPU power available all you want, but my laptop takes over 2 minutes to boot. Asus 20 seconds. Treo 10, if at all. So, by the rule of convenience, Treo is a big winner!

Monday, June 16, 2008

San Juan Valley, CO


I went thru San Juan Valley National Park this morning. Hwy 160 in Southern Colorado. Rather beautiful. I left early while it was still pitch dark, and by the time I got to the foot of the mountain, sun has risen enough to color the tip of the mountain golden color.

The route itself is rather twisty, but not overly so. Would be a good route to take if you're on a bike, I think. Cliffs are numerous enough to provide some andrenalin boost. The overall state of towns are old, quaint small town. I saw some impressive classic style housing along the way.

There's only one thing that bothers me: smog. Not from the towns nearby. Probably gathered around from all over state. It's not bad, but I was expecting clean mountain air.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Moon represent my heart


I was listening to Teresa Teng's The Moon Represents My Heart. Yue Liang Tai Biao Wo De Xin. It's really good! There are several versions floating on YouTube, but I still like the original best.

Mobile Youtube


YouTube has gone mobile! Now I can see movies on my phone!
I do wish I have an option to download the movies just so when the connection is shaky, which is most of the time, I can still watch them without dropping frame rate. I wonder how the bandwith capacity is holding up.

Iowa Flooding


It's not often that you're in the middle of disaster you hear about in radio or TV, but in my case, I was in the middle of it. Record rainfall has caused flooding in eastern part of Iowa not seen since 1963. They closed off I80. detour goes 61N to Dubuque 20E. That's quite far! Not comforting is the sign "All other routes are closed". Yikes!

I was there when it rained. Buckets of water literally hit the windshield, I wondered if it would held. The first day it's okay. The second is the one that tipped it over. Apparently, the ground was well saturated and cannot absorb any more water.

People were displaced. Businesses falters. Lots of things couldn't go on because people cannot go anywhere. "there's not much people here today, isn't it", I asked the travel center lady.
"Ssshh!" she admonished me, "There's much flooding and people cannot come to us!"
That just about sums it up. Things certainly aren't rosy when they're under 3 feet of water!
I saw parts of the flooding. Partial backyard filled with water. Energetic rivers. Things of that nature.

People were getting sandbags to their home, those who could go back. Like I said, things aren't good underwater. Anybody up for some jet skiing? I saw that too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008



It kind of annoys me that I rarely use my computer anymore. I use it for email and that's it. Still, I do design programs from time to time. I just don't type them in.

Anyway, I visited California this past weekend, and I don't really enjoy it. Not this time. Too smoky! I don't believe that was caused by smog either. Maybe fires somewhere. Seems a lot of it lately.

The drivers are insane! Well some of them anyway. At the worst point, I actually saw an SUV that pass on the right on the slow lane for trucks! This where the regular lane is 3 lanes! Why can't he wait a few seconds to pass on the left? Stupid, crazy and very reckless!

I noticed that most crazy drives either drives big SUV or pickup truck. Bunch of poser losers who can't drive decided to get big gas guzzler as personal portable missile. I'd like to see these drivers being prosecuted and be put on 50cc scooter for transport. That'll teach them.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dolls are piling up!


These are my latest acquisition. Took me $26 total. Assuming big ones sell at $20 and little ones at $7, then these are worth $74 retail.

Some other people also tried to get some. One was successul. Others not so good. "Did you get one?" I asked.

"No. You got that one?", pointing to Minnie Mouse under my arm.

"Yes, I did"

After a while they went away. I put a dollar in and got myself that Mickey Mouse Napper. After that people are just swarming the machine!

Oh, check that fuel price! Expensive!