* Posts by W. Keith Wingate

60 publicly visible posts • joined 25 Aug 2010


ISS and Atlantis crews face 'daunting' box-shifting job

W. Keith Wingate
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Large lads & lager & late payments

@James Micallef

One drinks beer in space (according to NPR) this way:


@ Tom 7

"I'd guess the average astronaut to weigh in around 60 or 70 kilos"

For Yanks of their age your estimate strikes me as a bit light; I hail from the same demographic and would love to get back down to 70 kg... :-(, though the absence of access to beer would help!

@ dephormation.org.uk

Regrettably, I'm afraid we have put it all on the credit card....

Mexican narco attempts suitcase jailbreak

W. Keith Wingate
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Behind the paywall?

It was on this AM's hardcopy WSJ, but a search of the on-line version shows nada thing.

Ah well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/05/mexican-criminal-packed-too-much

Amazon throws tax hissy-fit, dumps California affiliates

W. Keith Wingate
Black Helicopters

One more reason the US is overdue for a VAT

'not saying it's good or bad, but it's coming.

Office 365: Can Microsoft replace Microsoft?

W. Keith Wingate
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Ahh. So it's in the cloud but you still need your own reservoir?

Sort of like the old .dsp pages for the web. I predict the same demise.

Dear Dell and Microsoft: You're not Apple

W. Keith Wingate
Gates Horns

@Jamie: Resentment of Microsoft...

... comes in part from its success. Historically, any company, country, person, etc. as successful as Gates & MS are bound to attract their fair (and sometimes unfair) share of resentment.

Also, from the aforementioned anti-competitive business practices, some of which they no longer need to / are able to rely on (forcing hardware vendors to charge a license fee for each unit whether the customer uses their software or not, e.g.).

Having been in I/T since MS was a small company w/ a few language compilers / interpreters, my biggest beef is that through their enormous success they have sucked all the oxygen out of the I/T ecospace. One by one, they have killed off companies & products which provided superior technology and foisted "least-common denominator" solutions on us. They've made our work places blander, and more boring, if not less productive than we might have been.

Customers used to choose best-of-breed solutions: WordPerfect / Lotus / FoxPro (pre-MS); now it's all Word/Excel/Access. Of course File->Open does the same thing in each now, and in fact, in nearly all Windows apps. And their products (Windows notwithstanding) have generally improved over time, and some were even innovative (the PIM + email that is Outlook was positively brilliant; the ease-of-use of Access or Powerpoint are also very welcom, IMHO). The worst cases are the products they've bought and ruined (FoxPro already mentioned; Visio).

Of course, much of this is subjective. I'm sure there are folks who actually thought Word 2.x was better than WordPerfect, who would rather have used Excel than Quattro Pro, but I dont' recall meeting any of them.

Intel debuts '3D transistors' with 22nm chip recipe

W. Keith Wingate

Current vs. Voltage

Okay, you've got me at a disadvantage, I'm a software guy but have trouble seeing the difference here.

If I apply voltage across a circuit, with a sufficiently low resistance, won't current flow? Can current flow without voltage?


Welcome your robot overlairds, robots

W. Keith Wingate
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Nice article but ....

... surely one of the robots could have done a better one. :-).

I gifted a roomba to my mum who loves it and my mother-in-law loves hers as well. I've been waiting in vain for the price to come down on the mowbots to get a first domestic 'bot of my own. iRobot do make one for cleaning rain-gutters, quite a chore 'round my place, but the wife has ignored the "Fathers-Day" hint two years straight now.

Anyone tried those and care to report on how well they do / don't work?

Save the planet: Stop the Greens

W. Keith Wingate
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Why no mention of those who will die from the Fukushima windmills?


At least in the US (I can't imagine it's all that different in the UK) "green" (note the lowercase; the actual US Green Party here has only a casual interest in environmental issues, bears little resemblance to their European counterparts, and enjoys less popularity than a hunter in a gathering of vegan deer) comes in at least two different hues: 1) The "smaller is better crowd", [eat local, organic food ; bike more / drive less, recycle, have fewer children...] and the 2) The "I'll have my cake and eat it too" [tech will solve all problems: PV on the roof, Prius in the drive, ...] crowd.

Far from being a denialist, I actually thing the environmental question must be our number 1 priority: if we get that wrong (and we're clearly getting it wrong) the other issues won't matter. At all. And yet...

Group 1) is just naive. The Ponzi schemes which pass for pensions in the developed world, even the whole economic system is completely dependent on growth. Without that, they collapse. Most of what we toss in the recycling bin ends up in landfills anyway. I can bike everywhere, but when neighbors on both sides joy-ride in SUV's my impact is negligible.

Group 2) is just buying indulgences. If mere technological innovation could solve these types of problems, we wouldn't be here. "Free markets" don't solve all problems, and in fact may solve fewer than they create.

So despite epic fails in some of the arguments (Globalization absolutely DOES accelerate our self-destruction because we globalize capital but not environmental protections, so it's a race to the dirtiest, cheapest. least sustainable way to bring the 3rd world up to 1st world standards of gluttony and waste), I am very sympathetic to the article's author.

Enough so, that he's sold me on his book -- if I can get a soft-copy, rather than the dead-tree version.

Mozilla slips SpiderMonkey into Dev Platform of the Future™

W. Keith Wingate

So java is already dead then?

Will the last java guy out the door please remember to do the garbage collection? Oh, and don't forget to tell these guys:


Police head-cam TV show debuts in US

W. Keith Wingate
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But will it have a cool reggae theme song!?


Wind turbine farm hack exposed as hoax

W. Keith Wingate

@Roger Greenwood

" When they get wind they have been hacked,"....

Nice. It took a lot of bluster to pull that one off mate...

Microsoft warns asks WP7 users to wait for the real thing

W. Keith Wingate

Windows Phone; 'zat still around!?

I WinCE every time I hear about MS trying to revive their long moribund effort to monopolize yet another market with a new release of their mobile O/S.

Although I am neither an Apple fanboi nor a hater, I honestly haven't spent a lot of time w/ the i{phone,pad}, but have been chained to work issue phones running Blackberry, Symbian, and MS O/S's, and MS (It was Windows Mobile at the time) was by far the worst of the three.

It's unlike the boys in Redmond to give up a market once they put their marketing muscle into it, and certainly this particular monopoly is still up for grabs ('could be Apple, or Google, or even RIM), but they should give this one up.

The Osborne 1: 30 years old this month

W. Keith Wingate
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Ahhh, the bad old days

I was just starting at the uni when these beasts came out, and I got a job for a small computer store which sold Kaypros, the Osbornes' main competitors. I won one in a sales contest and it was my first micro. Suddenly, all the babble at school about operating systems and libraries and assemblers started to make sense. Later, Compaq (then Eagle, which we sold) built similar suitcase-size luggables for the nascent [IBM] PC-compatible market. My wife is shocked I don't still have them in the basement, along w/ enough other old kit to create an IT museum.

Thanks for the memory.

Brand owners could stop reputation-benefitting keyword triggers

W. Keith Wingate

'seems there's a trend here

Recently, I've been surprised by how often a search for "postgres", say, will take me to an Oracle (Oracle/MySQL) page. This is clearly intentional on the part of the page publishers and an inconvenience to punters who simply want to download the latest build, e.g.

OTOH, I have often done queries like "MySQL vs. Postgres", fully expecting to get a comparison from both software publishers as well as (hopefully) financially less interested third parties. And shouldn't vendors be allowed to compare themselves to their competition?

Intel and HP defend honor of Itanium

W. Keith Wingate

Perfectly reasonable question

In a theoretical world, you'd be 100% correct.

For most cross-platform RDBMS's I've worked with (MySQL, Sybase, etc.) you'd be maybe 95% right.

But what is often said about emacs applies more so to Oracle, IMHO: "OK RDBMS ('editor' for emacs), but a really terrific O/S!" People pay Larry the big bucks for scalability, which is good, because frankly, that's all Oracle offers. All other offerings are cheaper, nearly all are easier to administer, develop against, etc. If you can keep Windows running underneath even MS offers a more feature rich database product these days, but if you want to scale to millions of TPS with your data safely on replicated disks after each commit, you're probably looking at Oracle.

To achieve that level of scalability, you end up with an installer that actually links your binaries together on the target host.

It is more discriminating about hardware, O/S, etc. than any cross-platform database engines I've ever worked with in the last 20 years or so.

Fukushima's toxic legacy: Ignorance and fear

W. Keith Wingate

Spoken like a true Publican, Bullseyed

If you're referring to one of the two major US Political Parties, founded by Jefferson & Madison, it's called the "Democratic" party.

Though certainly the Fukoshima disaster is not nearly as tragic as it might have been, the fact remains that nuclear is one of the few contending energy sources we currently use which is inherently dangerous -- on the best of days. Blue sky scenarios for nukes don't address one critical question: what to do with the waste products? Add earthquakes, tsunami, terrorists, human cock-ups, etc. and it seems we have a prescription for a real catastrophe.

Capitalism killed the Martians, suggests Hugo Chavez

W. Keith Wingate

Glad to see Sr. Chavez knows his Ray Bradbury

No wait, it was Guns, Germs and [Terran] Steel that killed the Martians, not Funds, Firms, and Stealing.

'never mind.

Ex-PM blocked Steve Jobs knighthood

W. Keith Wingate

There is nothing like a Dame

So Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is so called because New Zealand recognizes Elizabeth II as head of state then?

'just asking.

Dear US gov: Stay the hell out of Silicon Valley

W. Keith Wingate

@Micheal 17: Nice list!


+= putting people into space, defeating Hitler (didn't outsource that one to the highest bidder: Halliburton, Blackwater).

I regret dragging poor Adam Smith into things since as pointed out, his "invisible hand" is certainly not representative of ALL of his work, but it is what he is best known for today and illustrates the error of the whole "markets should make all decisions" argument.

Whether the fellow would consider himself a "socialist" whatever that neologism might have meant in his day is certainly doubtful.

It's also doubtful that any real "socialist" would recognize China or India as being in their camp today.

Certainly, GDP growth is hardly an absolute measure of goodness (environmentalists should perish the thought), and yes (@AC 22:23), countries starting behind the curve (China was mentioned) have an easier time of producing growth numbers than countries once frequently seen at the top.

My point: somewhere between laissez-faire capitalism and a completely planned command economy is the sweet spot for ... any place on Earth I can imagine. Different spot probably, for different nations but certainly it's at neither extreme, and libertarians seem not to get this and are on the wrong side of history. The emerging super-powers of China & India seem to be finding their sweet spots. The US (although not Canada, interestingly), the UK, and others in Europe seem to be looking back on that invisible hand.

The reason they can't find it is that it doesn't exist.

W. Keith Wingate
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So St. Peter is showing the newbie around heaven....

... which is apparently less exclusive but more segregated then you might have thought, and when he gets to the area where the (insert your favorite truth monopolist God botherers here) are he whispers, "Shhhhhh! Here's where the ___________ are and they think they're the only ones up here!"

In that vein, I don't like bringing this up to libby's and tea partiers but... have you ever noticed how the countries which are eating our lunch (here in the US, and Europe too!) all tend to have VERY involved governments?

Drop a few pretty small outliers here:


and you find the likes of China, India, etc. ; not exactly full of Adam Smith friendly economists last I checked.


Of course, the numbers are suspect, you know those left-wing Marxists at the IMF & the CIA.


Oracle gives 21 (new) reasons to uninstall Java

W. Keith Wingate

I'll uninstall Java when I ditch my PalmPilot

I get rid of stuff when I a) No longer need it or b) Have something better.

While not a full-time coder, I do need to write programs to do my job, so a) is not true in my case unless b) also is. From where, I'm sitting, it ain't. C# might be an alternative if I only wanted to run on Windows (happily, most of my work is on Linux), and moving to M$ for security reasons seems like a hard sell.

The poor Java programming language has been a victim of corporate & community politics since day 0, and has suffered from some bad design dogma, er, uh decisions (e.g. no native compilation, grudging support for so-called platform-dependent features like environment variables, insistent boundary checking, etc.....). But after years of trying to graduate from C to C++ Java taught me OOP in a few months. It's a much better pedagogical language than the Pascal they taught when I was a kidl. The built-in threading model, while imperfect, is a great improvement on anything which preceded it.

It suffers from bloat, but groovy (et. al.) will take you to the same place (compiling to either java source or byte code) with fewer lines of code, and if you compile the stuff natively it is at least as secure as a comparable C program in the same environment. It is only the runtime translation that may make it more vulnerable.

Short of going back to malloc()'ing and free()'ing my own memory for every character string, and absenting the rebirth of the commercial grade java native compilers (gcj AFAIK, is all that remains), I think I'll stick with Java.

BTW, until I find a "smartphone" to sync my calendar, contacts, categorized to-do items, memos, etc. at work and at home which let's me carry those data in between without costing a monthly arm & leg for a "data plan", I'll keep my PalmPilot too, thanks. All those smartphones, BTW, except for Apple's, seem to run Java.


HTML5 kicked into 2014

W. Keith Wingate

POD is not a bad idea, maybe Perl6 will be done by then

That is all.

Delete all you like, but it won't free up space

W. Keith Wingate

And so? This is quite familiar....

... to anyone who's used the .snapshot feature of a NetApp filer or similar redirect-on-write filesystem.

Still, I agree that this doesn't really seem like a reason not to dedup, unless I've missed the point entirely.

Mexico demands apology for Top Gear outrage

W. Keith Wingate

Actually the food stateside is quite good....

.... as long as you stick to decent Mexican places like Frontera Grill....

Republican reps push for mandatory gun ownership

W. Keith Wingate

Moral equivalence? I don't see it.

So passing a law which requires you to chip in to keep people healthy is constitutionally equivalent to being required to own WMD's?

Each of the three US States in which I've lived already required me to buy car insurance to legally drive, many different types of insurance to get a government insured mortgage, etc.

I love how the first things the US marines do when occupying a third world country is round up all the weapons, but doing the same in Tuscon, AZ somehow violates the NRA's corrupted interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

The reason you can't correlate crime statistics is because the jurisdictions are too small. In Chicago gun ownership was tightly controlled but any gang banger within 45 min. of the Indiana border (e.g. anywhere in Chicago) should have no problem stocking up on cop-killer weapons and ammo.

A better comparison would be say, Washington DC w/ Toronto, ON. Look it up!

New Taser made to take down angry bears, moose

W. Keith Wingate

Can't wait to see the first reference to one of these in the Darwin Awards.

That is all.

UK short 100K tech recruits this year

W. Keith Wingate
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I noticed that moving from Business to Academia and back

It depends on the job you're trying to automate. GIven the accounting I had to take back in school anyway, it was easy learning enough about Inventory, Billing, Shipping & Receiving to automate the jobs of few book-keepers. Easier, in any case, then teaching them the odd mix of 4GL, SQL, C & COBOL I used to do it.

When I moved to a university hospital's medical imaging staff, it was the other way around. Physicists could learn to write (admittedly bad) C++ or Fortran much more quickly than it would have taken me to learn the details of say, MRI spectroscopy.

Still, it's a shame more organizations are not willing to pony up for full-time Business Analysts; good ones more than pay for themselves in code which need not get rewritten to match redefined requirements which were wrong or missing in the first place, scrapped I/T projects, disappointed users, etc.

Glad to see things picking up on your side of the puddle; let's hope it spreads...

US woman sues again over XP 'downgrade', seeks class action

W. Keith Wingate
Gates Horns

Not exactly

It's more like buying a car with an engine that claims to get better mileage, or provide more horsepower, or whatever, which works just well enough to get you half way home. When the car is towed back to the dealer, they want to charge you full price to replace the engine with last year's version. Not only have you bought something which violates the "implied warranty of merchantability", the very reason you've bought it has been negated, and they're charging you for the privilege!

I have an old XP laptop, which has treated me better than any MS imaged computer (laptop or desktop) I've ever owned. I bought the missus the closest model to mine I could find a year and a half later (because she liked mine), but it came w/ Vista. It was completely unusable. So I've got myself an Ubuntu laptop now (no downgrade was available, not that I was keen to throw away good money after bad), and have offered her my old XP lappie in trade.

Jury's still out on the Windows 7 desktop I've been playing with for the last few months, as to whether it's an "upgrade" from XP (much less Win2K) but it is far, far better than Vista ever was. A better company would be offering free "upgrades" to either XP or Win7 -- or refunds.

iPad's biggest rival? Microsoft's dead Courier

W. Keith Wingate

Copy that

The original Graffiti was actually great, despite being a bit counter-intuitive at first. Then the lawyers got involved. Graffiti II, which replaced it, OTOH, had major issues, as did the "jot" alternative, in my experience.

So that's something else to be considered here, what innovation can actually be rolled out into a workable tablet product w/out first paying off all the patent trolls.

Facebook stat flood gives hope to mateless, dateless

W. Keith Wingate

Vin Diesel?

Is that the new Franco-German bio-fuel I keep hearing about?

Google open sources '$5m' in Java Eclipse tools

W. Keith Wingate

That's the worst....

"When they expire, however, you will have to move to a third-parry for support. "

... that third-parry support. The app vendor blames the O/S, the O/S guy blames the hardware, and the lady who sold you the box claims that no one else is having this problem....

iPad apps: the 10 smartest and 10 stupidest

W. Keith Wingate

Actually the tanning app works fine!

... replete w/ increased risk of skin cancer, etc! You simply must use it out of doors for 60 min. a day..... between 10:00 and 14:00.

And to think I haven't yet forked over $500 - $1000 US plus the cost of a "data plan" (whatever that is) yet....

'Hippy' energy kingpin's electric Noddy-car in epic FAIL

W. Keith Wingate
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Plus ça change

What pray tell, are the "IC-powered" bretheren? Because here in the colonies, just about any hybrid you can buy will kick the cojones off the alternatives w/ respect to fuel consumption. Are there issues (battery life / disposal / weight ; the safety of nearly silent cars on city streets; cost) with them? Sure. But if minimizing fuel consumption alone were your only goal, you simply can't beat something like a Toyota Prius or first generation Honda Insight.

I used to think of hybrids as an interim technology, until we get a practical infrastructure for the electrics, but ... while waiting for the power-grid to be restored in our Chicago suburb for three days last summer I began to see the advantage of a plug-in hybrid: you can adjust your choice of energy input to market prices and availability.


This reminded of a well-known story which took place back in my home town: a rash engineer tried to prove that locomotives would soon make the horse & buggy obsolete, but a mechanical failure proved the "folly" of all that new-fangled technology. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Thumb_%28locomotive%29). Today I (and thousands of others in Chicago) take trains (albeit, not steam-driven ones) daily, but I know no-one who commutes by horse, here or anywhere there's an internet connection (which presumably you need to read this. :-) ).

There's more commonality than you might think; the "new" technology was basically coal-powered (and as other posters have noted, so is much of the electricity in the UK and probably even more on this side of the puddle). So I wouldn't dismiss this "Electric Joule-aid Acid Test" out of hand...

No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed

W. Keith Wingate
Jobs Horns

True enough.

My experience is that Macintosh and Windows users (if that's all they use) do not see "computing" as a verb, which is fine -- unless they're looking for a career in I/T.

Couple this w/ a general dumbing down of the populace and a "lowering of the bar", not to mention (oh, someone already has) a total focus in secondary education on training students to get jobs rather than educating them, and the end result is CS graduates that can't spell "IP address" much less statically assign one properly.

As a working class kid who paid every cent of my own books and tuition, I understand the importance of having marketable skills when you graduate (particularly these days), but many of those courses they made us take because they were "good for our character", actually turned out to be. (Even if I did rename one PHI 102 class "Intro to Critical and Useless Thinking" at the time).

OTOH, a lot of that old-school CS curricula were also overly theoretical and in 30 years in the field I've yet to find a use for some of it.

I manage a group of four IT people, none of whom (myself excluded) have a CS degree, and I wouldn't trade them for a PHD in CS w/ a string of certs.

It's the "esprit de geek" that makes the difference.

US raygun jumbo fluffs another test missile-blast attempt

W. Keith Wingate

Now point it at the mirror...

That is all.

Almost a quarter of Europeans can't be bothered with the net

W. Keith Wingate

Well said

"...just because they don't see the point of Twitter and are content to just have real world friends."

I've been using the internet pretty much daily since the late 1980's, and have somehow maintained relationships with friends and family, including ones who don't have an ISP much less a social-networking account. And what, BTW, "IS THE POINT of Twitter"????

Amazon shrinks books with Kindle Singles

W. Keith Wingate

Didn't you mean "known"?

That is all.

Google robo cars drive selves on public streets

W. Keith Wingate

But can it text while driving?

Only on a 'Droid I suppose.

Man enraged by sagging pants pops cap in teen's ass

W. Keith Wingate

Or more likely....

.... (last time I looked at the stats), take the gun from the old-guy and use it against him.

'course I haven't looked at the stats in a while:


20% of TVs to ship in 2015 will be 3D, says analyst

W. Keith Wingate

Every TV set I've ever owned was 3D

... although the LCD ones I was forced to buy when I couldn't get a CRT that did digital are much thinner.

Miniskirted Brazilian is appealing...

W. Keith Wingate

Odd for a country famous for topless beaches, no?

That is all.

Google spits back at Oracle's Android suit

W. Keith Wingate

Treble cleft?

Shouldn't it be trippple damages?

Google sticks goggles on the iPhone

W. Keith Wingate

What about search & replace? What about audio?

I used to maintain course ware for a software firm as part of my role as an instructor. Re-doing all the screen shots for dialog boxes that clearly had 1.2 logos so that they said 1.3 was a PITA. I've always wanted to do search & replace by image?

I understand the iPhone has an app that will help identify a song if I can "hum a few bars".

Could that be next?

I agree with the consensus here, this technology is actually pretty cool.

Tony Curtis goes to grave with iPhone

W. Keith Wingate

Wots dot?

For some years I've been a user and something of an enthusiast for a log-scraping utility in Unix/Linux called "wots" which happens to have been written by an Austrian student w/ the unlikely name of "Tony Curtis".

It was something of a joke around the various places I've worked the last 10 years or so and you'd be surprised how many condolences I received via email when the wots author's more famous namesake passed.

I mention it lest someone whip out the dreaded "IT?" icon. RIP Mr. Curtis.

Ballmer goes to LSE as internal doc calls for radical overhaul of MS

W. Keith Wingate


I agree that Windows is everywhere, but I'm not sure about the qualifier "successfully".

When the cash-register hangs at your local checkout line, I wonder how often that's Windows?

I often see information kiosks in BSOD (or equivalent mode). I know many that might have been potential customers of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, .... until they heard (not sure about this, it may be a rumor spread by General Motors) that it runs Windows, though hopefully not for anything mission critical like say, the ABS.

OTOH, there's lots of embedded Linux out there, nearly invisible, I suppose, because it just works.

US navy to battle Iranian mini-ekranoplan swarms with rayguns

W. Keith Wingate

Ayatollahs with A-bombs?

Remember that no nuclear power has ever been waged war on by another nuclear power. Ever. At least not yet. Bush & Blair underscored the point by attacking all the "hostile" countries surrounding Iran (they didn't have nukes, poor buggers) but leaving Iran untouched, since the mullah's there have been very good at playing the "well, we might just have them" game.

That's not to say that nuclear powers in bed with jihadiis is not a scary proposition (e.g. Pakistan), but just what price is "The West" willing to pay to try to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle (were it possible), or at least keep the bottle out of the hands of "the axis of evil"?

Hundreds of Americans, bystanders injured playing video games

W. Keith Wingate

I represent that!

You mean there's something outside the good ole US of A?

Why didn't they ever teach us that in school? If there were something there, surely there'd be a reality TV show about it, no?

Texan smut baron spanked over UK schoolgirl snap

W. Keith Wingate

The global village is smaller than we think

If you click the link in the article the young lady explains (vaguely) how it came to her attention.

Suffice it to say, once you get more than a few dozen "friends" on facebook or LinkedIn connections, you really notice the effect of the combinatorial explosion that represents: Desmond in London knows Takeshi in Tokyo? I had no idea... When people find you in unsuspected places, they do let you know.

I'm pleasantly surprised to see a US court do the right thing for a change, you go girl!

Thieves drive off with 10,800 Western Digital drives

W. Keith Wingate

The joke is on them

The forwarding agent's security and that of the airport seem to be a bit of a joke. ®

Ya think? It's a pity they weren't seagate, I could use some cheap drives.... :-).

Car wrecks rise after texting bans imposed

W. Keith Wingate

Drive now talk (/text/...) later....

.... is the slogan of the guys at "Car Talk Plaza" http://www.cartalk.com/ and I'd have to agree.

Driving big, automatic, gas-guzzling living rooms on wheels on very expensive highways allows one to be a bit too insulated from the task at hand. ANYONE would bored driving across the Texan pan-handle, not to mention Kansas. You need to take frequent breaks, and really concentrate on paying attention, and pull-over to attend to those distractions you can't avoid.

Driving the autobahn in a Fiat 600 say, is a bit more engaging. Texting while driving in any European or Asian city is unimaginable to me (not to mention if you're required to use the "wrong" [as in "not right!"] side of the road :-) ). But then, I pull over to talk cell calls (or better, call them back) even in suburbs...