Phil's 2010 Blog!



This blog will be about nothing in particular, it will be a collection of thoughts and happenings during the year of 2010.

If anyone wishes to send an email for inclusion in the blog, just say in the email "include in your blog" and it will be done. I will keep names to formats like JeffW, CarolK, FrankL to keep things somewhat anonymous.

The animated icons came from http://www.gifs.net/ . They said if I used their icons I had better include a link to them.


The blog entries for 2011 can be found here: Phil's 2011 Blog

The blog entries for 2009 can be found here: Phil's 2009 Blog

The blog entries for 2008 can be found here: Phil's 2008 Blog

The blog entries for 2007 can be found here: Phil's 2007 Blog

The blog entries for 2006 can be found here: Phil's 2006 Blog


Wed, 22 Dec 2010 12:40:12 -0700From: Phil.Persson via EMAILSubject: horses do not scale well

Have you ever noticed that horses do not scale well?

I was looking out my office window at the dozens of cars in the parking lot and wondering how the world would be different if the horseless carriage had never been invented. There are those who think we would be better off without these smelly machines all around us.

So in my mind I looked out over the parking lot at dozens of horses and it was not a pretty picture. Can you imagine a huge shopping mall with hundreds of horses? How did people report to work in the old days? What did they do with all the horse manure everywhere?

I think the invention of the automobile was a necessity. Many times in the course of human history we find that an invention - for instance, the car - was simultaneously discovered by many people in many countries across the planet. One might say that innovation occurs not because some genius tinkering in his shed has a bright idea but because the stage was set at that moment in history for that new idea to appear.

Anyway that is one possible interpretation of history. Sometimes when someone invents a new gizmo the time is not right.

When Persson Technologies appears on the scene with new utilities for computers across the planet, will anyone notice or care? I am reminded of the "Chef Of The Future" who had a new and exciting way to core an apple...when in fact the old way worked perfectly fine as demonstrated by Ed Norton. How does one convince the public that the new tool is better than what they have been using for years? Therein lies the core question. Oh...core question...what a perfect time to stop this blog entry!

Sat, 20 Nov 2010 11:09:26 -0800 (PST)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Phil and Pam show

We recently had another episode of the Phil and Pam show. It is getting dark much earlier now that we are approaching Thanksgiving and I called her after work when I was a few blocks from home.

"Hey, I can't remember if I was supposed to call you before I got home, did you say we wanted to do some bicycle riding when I got home?"

"I don't remember that, but okay."

"I know that it will be dark......."

"Well, that's better."

"Why is it better?"

"We will be able to see them more clearly."

"We will be able to see what?", I asked, already getting very confused.

"We will be able to see the icicles."

So I thought for a while and I knew once again something had gone terribly wrong with our conversation.

"Umm......I am talking about bicycle riding, what are you talking about?"

"Oh!", she replied, laughing, "I thought we were talking about icicle lighting, that is a little different, isn't it?"

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 22:21:27 -0800 (PST)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Persson Technologies

I have gone back and forth concerning this company.

Do I want to do this or not?

I was thinking that I wanted to start with four applications:


Metric Conversion

String Transformation

Email Composer

Simple List Comparison

Then I was thinking I would start with the new and improved String Transformation version 2.x that would leap tall buildings in a single bound, would be faster than a speeding bullet, and more powerful than a locomotive.

Now I have scaled back my plans.....and I am going to start with one and only one application:

String Transformation Utility version 1.2.4 for Windows.

UGH

Well, it has been tested for 4.5 years on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 so I know it is stable.

It is for a niche market - mostly IT people - but it is a nice product. People can see what version 1.x looked like and how it worked. Version 2.x will be a huge improvement and will work on Windows, Linux, Unix, and Macintosh and it will be ten times faster and will include nice new features.

I don't know......but let's just say one thousand people like it and each send me $30 - that adds up to a few dollars, yes?

Right now I am putting together the user guide for the software. Software without a clear and useful user guide is like.....well, worthless!

Sun, 23 Oct 2010 10:24:28 -0800 (PST)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Volt Fraud At Government Motors

I was just looking at this report:

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/550957/201010191855/Volt-Fraud-At-Government-Motors.htm

This is a true disappointment. The original series gas-electric design was promoted by Chevy because they said they could later swap out the gasoline engine and install a hydrogen fuel cell to propel the Chevy Volt into an exciting new future where anything was possible. Installing a clutch system which sometimes connects the gasoline engine to the drive train means all that is out the window.

The Chevy Volt was truly an exciting futuristic design that held great promise. Now that GM has scrapped all those plans and revealed this new car might only get 30MPG I think they will soon be out of business. They have bet the farm on this new creation - now they have lied and are delivering a product that does not in any way resemble what they originally promised. Sad.....very sad.

In much the same way that GM has reported the Volt in non-electric mode will get 50 MPG (on a level track, driving at a constant speed, in perfect weather, with no accessories on, using a professional driver) they have also reported the battery pack will last up to 10 years. I am now reading reports that under less than ideal conditions it might only last 5 years.

In other electric car news, the EEStor disaster is now being considered another broken promise. I don't think this will ever become a reality either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEStor

Now I am waiting to hear what is really under the hood of the new all-electric Nissan Leaf. Perhaps it has squirrels running around in a little wheel.

Sat, 2 Oct 2010 23:33:17 -0700 (PDT)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: CFLs are poison

Speaking of hazardous materials, did you know that everyone is supposed to convert to Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)?

From what I have heard, incandescent lights (think Thomas Edison style) are no longer sold in Australia and Europe and are due to be phased out here in 2012.

Yet, many Americans do not realize that you cannot simply throw CFLs into the trash. According to some web sites, the amount of mercury in one light once it seeps into the ground water can wipe out an entire civilization (well, I might be exaggerating a bit).

I see that this Tempe event lists CFLs so I am very happy. However, in my research into the hazardous waste recycling sites, very few of them accept CFLs and you must be a resident of the city and prove it. Woe unto anyone who lives in an unincorporated area, they are forced to throw their CFLs in the trash and wipe out all those before mentioned civilizations!

Household LED lights are on the horizon, I was checking them out at Wal-Mart. They take way less energy than the CFLs (which take one quarter the power of incandescent lights), they last practically forever, and they have NO hazardous materials. Spotting them on the shelf was very easy, I just scanned the prices. CFLs were selling for $3 each, these are around ten times more. Don't worry, the prices will come down.....someday.

Wed, 25 Aug 2010 07:18:08 -0700 (PDT)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Fw: Camry

I just received an email from Toyota and this is how it started:

For Philip Persson, valued Camry owner

Yes, I cannot deny it, I am driving around in a Camry. I love my car. It has been so reliable and it is the perfect size. It gets 30 miles per gallon and yet it is not one of those tiny Smart cars that......I'm sorry, but taking those out on the expressway I don't think is very smart.

I had to type a blog entry just to say I had done it. Some day I will actually get these entries up on the web.

Mon, 19 Jul 2010 00:51:37 -0700 (PDT)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: how to restrict the sky

I was recently looking at an ad for a resort on the 4th of July weekend and this was one of the line items that they stressed in their ad:

"Free Fireworks Show At Dusk!!"

Now what I am wondering is how you would charge for that anyway? How do you limit just who can see the sky? It struck me as a strange concept.

Fri, 16 Jul 2010 18:01:40 -0700 (PDT)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: The art of communication

The art of communication

I recently thought of a story about a man who was in a restaurant ordering a meal. The waiter said, "Sir, with this entree you can have the super

salad."

"Okay, that sounds good!"

"What sounds good?"

"The super salad"

"What would you like?"

"That is what I will have"

"What will you have?"

"I will have the super salad"

"But sir....you must choose one, either the soup or the salad!"

That reminds me of a Saturday morning when my fiancee and I went out to breakfast. The restaurant is quite a distance from my house because I live in the middle of nowhere - it took some time to get there and we were even on the expressway for some time. She is trying to learn more about where things are for when we get married and she moves to my place. By the time we got there it was 11:00 and we decided to get lunch instead of breakfast. Pam found this meal - some deluxe burger with soup OR salad and on the regular menu it was $8.60 but if you ordered from the 55 menu (for older folks) it was only $6.99. I get to order from that menu because of all my silver hair and Pam can order from that menu because she hangs out with me. After the waitress left I was commenting how wonderful it was that we could save money by ordering from the 55 menu.

"I wasn't really paying attention, what extra did we get off?", she asked.

That seemed like a strange question to me because she is usually the financial guru in our relationship. I tried to remember the details.

"Well....I think it was 860...."

"What road is that?"

When I am in a conversation with someone I am trying to keep track of my train of thought. Suddently it appeared that my train had left the tracks and was now plowing through the forest, mowing down trees in its path. I reviewed the conversation in my mind to see how things had gone so terribly wrong.....

It is so nice that we can order off the 55 menu to save money
I was not paying attention, what extra did we get off?
I think it was 860
What road is that?

No, I just could not figure out what had happened. I looked across the table into her beautiful brown eyes and with a puzzled frown I said, "WHAT???"

"I wasn't paying attention when we came here, what exit did we get off?"

We had a great laugh over that whole thing and it was a great way to begin our day. It always amazes me how one syllable in a sentence can change the whole meaning!

Tue, 29 Jun 2010 23:38:11 -0700 (PDT)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: yet another chapter

I was reading a story about the Zenn Motor Company and EEStor and they said there is yet another chapter, but not 7 or 11....yet.

Some years ago I was all fired up about Zenn Motors and EEStor and told a friend with money he should invest in one or both of these companies. Now Zenn Motors has stopped producing electric cars and they have laid off their production workers. They now own 10% of EEStor and they are just waiting for the company to produce their magical ultracapacitor which will change the world of energy forever. In the meantime, leading scientists from all over the world say there is no way that EEStor can make this promise a reality. EEStor itself has missed several deadlines to actually produce a working ultracapacitor and they only have a year left until they go bankrupt. I thought that Lockhead Martin had poured millions into this company....only to discover they signed some agreement but did not spend a penny. Now I don't know what to think. The scientists at EEstor are finding that what worked on paper is much more difficult to produce in real life than they ever imagined.

In the meantime, the GM Chevy Volt marches forward - this car we can believe in. We have seen the test mule and we have read reviews from people who have actually driven it. They are now testing it in the brutal Phoenix desert where daytime highs are 111 degrees to see how the batteries hold up. I just hope GM delivers an excellent quality car.

This entire Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is likely to sell way more electric cars when they become available. If I had $40K sitting around burning a hole in my pocket I would buy an electric car in an instant.

I am keeping my Camry until it falls apart. It now has 90K miles on it. It seems strange - the people who bought the 6 cylinder version paid more, got a car that costs way more to run, does not handle as well, AND at 90,000 miles the timing belt needs to be replaced. My car was less expensive, gets way better gas mileage, handles better, and the timing chain is designed to last forever. I love my car.

My new house is now exactly three years old!

A few weeks ago I took my wonderful cat Gizmo back to the no-kill shelter. Because of my allergies I had to do something and decided since he was only about 20 months old and SOOOO handsome he would stand a good chance of finding a new home. It still really bothers me, I feel like I made a commitment to be his kitty daddy for the rest of his life and I betrayed him. It helps that he is in a no-kill shelter. What really helps is that I know he has no memory and is not sitting in a cage thinking that I hate him. They are not capable of such thoughts and I am only torturing myself when I think that way.

Sun, 28 Mar 2010 16:27:37 -0700 (PDT)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: Micro$soft, space cadet

Here I am, looking at some prices. Let us say that I am John Q. Public developer wanting to get a modern PC up and running. Here are the prices of the items I would want to buy:

Microsoft Windows 7 professional upgrade - $200

Microsoft Office 2007 professional - $450

Visual Studio 2005 - $800

So.....I would be spending $1450 when if I went with a Linux solution I would get that AND MUCH MORE, all for free and in many ways the sofware would be superior......hmm....

That is just unbelievable to me.

Although......I got Windows 7 professional for $100 and Office 2007 professional for $50 because I am special but I try to never boot into the evil Microsoft world.

The other day I had the pleasure of talking to someone who I must assume is a true space cadet. I know one of us was not playing with a full deck and I don't think I was the one with the problem. I was calling the allergist to get an appointment for testing (they said on the web this office is very busy and get your tests at the first visit) and this is how the conversation went:


Receptionist:  This is Arizona Allergy Advisors, how can I help you?

Phil:  Yes, I want to make an appointment

Receptionist:  Okay, we have several offices, do you know which office is most convenient for you?

Phil:  Are you at 435 Maple Street?

Receptionist:  Oh yes, so when do you want the appointment to be?

Phil:  Well, I want to be sure I get the allergy testing done at my first appointment.

Receptionist:  No, they NEVER do that, the first appointment is only a consultation, they cannot do ANY testing until they first interview you.  When would you like this appointment to be?

Phil:  So, since it is just a consultation, it does not take long?

Receptionist:  Not unless they decide to do your testing, sometimes they do that during the first visit.

Phil:  (after long pause)  Okay, let's make it on March 18th at 10:00 AM

Receptionist:  Okay, I have you down for March 18th at 10:00 AM.  Do you know where we are located?  We have several offices.

Phil:  (after long pause)  Well....are you at 435 Maple Street?

Receptionist:  Oh yes, we are! (with a note of surprise in her voice)

So when I showed up for my appointment it turns out that if you are barely able to function because you are being attacked by allergies and you are taking allergy medicine so you can function and get to work each day, they cannot test you for allergies because every test will show up negative. Couldn't the space cadet have told me that? No......I guess that is expecting too much.

Fri, 26 Mar 2010 19:31:41 -0700From: Phil via EMAILSubject: Geez Louise!

I am soooo sorry there have not been more blog entries here. I have been so sick since last October I have been barely able to keep my life going.

Now I hope to have more time for other things such as updating my blog and working on my Java projects.

I have been intermittently spending time on the Ubuntu Forum helping people understand how to use Ubuntu, the greatest Linux distribution ever!

Anyway, I now have my new Linux Mint machine setup and running and NetBeans works so I can run the blog generator, hopefully I can get my 2010 blog up and running this weekend.

Oh.....if anyone got a strange email from my Yahoo account then I apologize - I think they were having some technical problems over there.

Thu, 7 Jan 2010 14:22:42 -0800 (PST)From: pbpersson via EMAILSubject: start of a new year

It is the start of a new year - 2010 - I can hardly believe it. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Not that long ago I was sending emails to some friends to tell them what was happening and one person said, "Please do not send any more emails about technology" so I took her off my list. From her point of view, I fell off the edge of the earth.

I mean.....if I was not going to type about technology, what would I type about, the weather? It is sunny and 72 degrees here every day and I just love it. Today Chicago is freezing cold - I think the high is going to be 15 degrees - and they are supposed to get a foot of snow.

There are some things I just do not understand in life. Every day I come into work and by the time I get here, my left shoe is untied. What is that all about? The shoe, the shoe string, my foot - everything is identical between the left and the right sides of the equation. That must mean I am tying my shoes differently? I always start with the left one, does that mean the left one is the "dry run" shoe and I don't really know what I am doing until I get to the right one? These are the things that occupy my mind. Each night when I go to bed, these are the puzzles I am trying to solve (just kidding).

Tonight I am hoping to put two computers side-by-side and use one computer to access the hard drives in another computer. The hard drives in the one computer will be "guest drives" in this Linux machine that I will be using to transfer data from EXT4 to NTFS.

It reminds me of a time many years ago when I had a color television where the deflection generators were shot.....or maybe it was the yoke. Anyway, I think I used the deflection yoke from one television on the picture tube of another. The synchronization was all off, but I was able to see if the rest of the television was working and if I really wanted to go out and buy a new deflection yoke.

I just love technology - I love messing around with things and finding new ways of getting things accomplished. I am looking forward to getting back into Java one of these days, after I re-design my home network. The data transfer from EXT4 to NTFS is part of that - I have about one terabyte of data to move and this is a fast way to get it done - much better than going over the network.