Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Head Office Says Jump!

I guess the new marching orders are out. While watching C-SPAN's Cavalcade of Idiots, errr, Washington Journal this morning, the first phone segment was seeking comments on last night's primary elections. I expected most of the comments from the reliably left-leaning callers to somehow find a way to bash Sarah Palin despite the apparent strong-showing of one of her endorsees in Alaska.

Instead, three of the first few Democrat callers chose to go after Koch Industries, apparently seeking to paint its owners as attempting to subjugate democracy itself by daring to fund organizations that oppose the Obama agenda. The very nerve! I mean, it certainly isn't as though any super-rich industrialists on the left have ever sought to materially affect public policy through funding advocacy organizations. That's just the kind of thing devious right-wingers do.

So we got the usual set of calls to "unleash the dogs": demanding Congressional investigations (sorry, morons, Nancy's a little busy with other investigations at the moment), demanding boycotts (apparently if you dig down far enough, you find out that the Kochs are responsible for Dixie cups, so watch out!), and the now-standard Wikipedia defacing (check out the edit wars already under way).

So beware, you 50-to-60-percenters! Your betters are watching you!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Is It October Yet?

Because that's when Rock Band 3 comes out. I've just upgraded my drums with the three cymbal set, so they're now fully RB3-ready. And I'm all ready to shell out the bucks for the new keyboard instrument and the lesser of the two pro guitars. I've never played guitar before at all, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how the training mode works out.

The playlist is slowly starting to leak out. Here's what I'm seeing so far:

Songs I'm ready to play right now:
Dio – Rainbow in the Dark
Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing
Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train
The Doors – Break On Through
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again
Yes – Roundabout
B-52′s – Rock Lobster
Def Leppard – Foolin’
David Bowie – Space Oddity
Devo – Whip It
The Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me
The Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated
Steve Miller Band – Fly Like An Eagle
Primus – Jerry Was a Race Car Driver
Golden Earring – Radar Love
Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)
Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water
Dire Straits – Walk of Life

Songs that I won't mind when they show up:
Huey Lewis and the News – The Power of Love
Jimi Hendrix – Crosstown Traffic
Joan Jett – I Love Rock and Roll
Night Ranger – Sister Christian
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Foreigner – Cold as Ice
Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World
War – Low Rider
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (Live)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
Blondie – Heart of Glass
The Who – I Can See For Miles
James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good)
John Lennon – Imagine
INXS – Need You Tonight

Songs I'm going to assign one lighter to and hopefully will never see again:
Smash Mouth – Walkin’ on the Sun
Stone Temple Pilots – Plush
Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London

Plus there's still a few more rumored songs, like 25 or 6 to 4, 20th Century Boy and some as yet unnamed Rush song, and a bunch of stuff I've never heard of (what are those pesky kids listening to these days? And get off my lawn!).

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Tale Of Two Non-Quarterbacks

1. Chris Simms arraigned on driving-while-impaired charges

I actually had no idea he was back in the league after being cut by yet another team. He says he was just misquoted but that he "can't get into the details". OK, Chrissy. Sure thing. Hee hee.

But I'm not bitter.

2. Mack Brown says that John Chiles will not be moved back to quarterback for Texas

Thank God. Yeah, Chiles is one of those "natural athlete" types, but man was he lousy at quarterback. He isn't much better at receiver, but anything's better than having him waste snaps behind center.

The Update That Wasn't

From Engadget comes news that the long-awaited (by me) updated UVerse iPhone app is now released, with the main new feature being streaming video from your DVR!

Except...not so much.

The UVerse DVR is just a networked computer, so there's no reason that captured content couldn't be streamed to remote clients, but for whatever reason (technical, security, rights restrictions), that's not what they have. Instead, there is a download-and-view capability, not streaming. And it isn't the shows on my DVR - rather, it's just a provided list of show episodes. And, it isn't for any customer, only for customers that have the U300-tier of service, not the U200 that I have.

So....this update really doesn't do anything for me that the previous one didn't.

Um, hooray?

It Isn't That Hard

I am in the process of trying to buy a new car. Being as I am a technical person, I am of course attempting to do so in the way that involves the least amount of human contact, especially when those humans are car salesmen. Most dealerships now list their cars on their web sites, and usually have handy "Click for Quote" buttons next to the pretty stock photos.

So I am somewhat amazed when not one but two different dealerships made the same kind of mistake in responding to the "Click for Quote" button. Here is one of the responses with dealership details redacted:

Hello Bill -

Welcome to xxxxxx, where car buying is fun! Get ready for a relaxed, informative and enjoyable online shopping experience.

Below please find my e-commerce price quote for your review:

2011 xxxxx xxxxx, U124906
Exterior color / Interior color .
With automatic manual transmission and the following options/upgrades:
The MSRP on this car is $.
The wholesale invoice on this car is $.
My #DEALERSHIP NAME# discount Internet shopping price is $ + TT&L.

The "xxxxx" parts are the parts I redacted. The other places where information appears to be missing, like the prices and colors - those were left out in the original message.

Now, I'm pretty sure that electronic form letters are not exactly cutting-edge technology. Taking information from one place and sticking in another is pretty much all that computers really do. So for two different auto dealerships, with two different back-end systems, to make this same kind of silly mistake doesn't really inspire a lot of confidence in their ability to do other tasks, like say, help me maintain my car.

Of course, there is also the other dealership that didn't even bother to reply. I guess business is really good for them, they can afford to ignore a customer?

Just amazing. Glad my tax dollars aren't going to bail these guys out.