Friday, May 23, 2008

The Union Newspaper vs the Commenting Readers

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The Union newspaper in Grass Valley California has had an active core of commentors over the last couple of months. The software they were using was clunky, but it did offer the abiltiy to see what the most recent comments were. This element was key in getting live wore discussions and debates going. They have now introduced a "new and improve coke" which lacks this feature.

Many of us have asked to have the feature restored, but to no avail. I've finally made a post that make s it clear we are not happy campers. Here it is:

"Powered by Pluck

A bit of research reveals that this is no fly by night company, and that The Union can certainly ask for "most recent comments" and get it, IF The Union wants it. Pluck has even designed a an online debating software for the Economist, as well as full fledged forums, with all the kinds of interactivity I'm sure Union posters would enjoy.

Bottom line here may be "page views." Advertising revenue is determined by the number of page views, and the more we have to search, the more page views we rack up. It's like the mouse click farms in India, which used to drive up revenues for Google and Yahoo. Sometimes competitors would hire them to cost the other side for "page views." Amount of page views from me will soon drop to ZERO if this isn't fixed.

Also, I'd look into setting up forum software that references The Union articles without violating laws, and then allows for full featured discussions. Web 2.0 is Here. Your users ARE interactive and not oblivious to the technologies and marketing strategies involved.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Lost Weekend with Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection

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That's the name of the product on the box. The sales lady on the phone vehemently denies it is a collection on the phone when challenged about the actual product with just one serial number, instead of a full "collection of individual disks, each with their own numbers. Suffice it to say, another software company has taken a few more days of my life, NEEDLESSLY!

Wrtten Monday Morning:

My wife was using a trial edition of Photoshop CS3 Extended to take a course. The software was to expire on Saturday evening, and so on Thursday I called up to get a serial number to place in the appropriate spot, as the trial software had been prompting me. As my wife has plans for taking additional courses, we wanted to get the whole Master Creative Suite. It wasn't until I contacted Adobe to finalize the purchase that evening, that we learned that it was not going to be a case of giving a credit card, getting a serial number, and typing it in, a 5 minute transaction.

In my wife's instructor's intro to class I must admit she did warn people to have it installed and running. My wife and I took this to mean not to spend the money elsewhere. I've been installing software since 1980, as a tech and a teacher myself. The only events, that the problems involved with this, are comparable to, are Win95 and SoftImage 4. The first because, as we all know, it was broken form the start.

Suffice to say they did make it clear to stop applications, but they also seem to suggest that you needed to be connected to the internet for the install to succeed. Accordingly I prepared the machine by completely cleaning out every former Adobe program, and making 44 gigs of space on a 2 gig of RAM, duo processor, Sony VAIO laptop. This is double the requiements listed on the box, and usually handles the manufacturers' screwups. I wanted a clean and solid install.

That was Saturday afternoon. I had driven to UC Davis to pick up the collection, as it turned out that not only couldn't they give serial numbers over the phone, they couldn't download the software either. Davis is a five hour round trip from here, but it was the closest copy.

By Saturday night I had screwed up the machine so badly the the Internet connection was behaving erratically. It still is and Verizon will be back to me this afternoon. This email will be going out over land line phone. Sunday afternoon the Verizon EVO line started working again, and I continued to read and ponder the enormous amount of information Adobe has for failed installs, including the notion of copying the DVD's to the Hard drive, and messing with the registry, stuff I would still assume the average consumer is not going to be familiar with.

Tech support was closed till Monday, and appeared to cost $39 per incident. The website does not mention free installation support. I would consider these two things one and the same, so it never occurred to me to ask. I only learned about this by threatening to take the product back and forget about Adobe forevermore.

This morning I was finally able to get through to install support, where a young Chinese dude and I slowly worked our way through a ton of steps to clear away the mess, and begin a fresh install with absolutely no Internet, and no applications of any kind running, including tiny calendars and timers and Netmeter.

It took 30 minutes on hold with just music (no reassuring, "somebody will answer"), and 1 1/2 hours of working with the tech to get the process to start again from the beginning. With EVERYTHING shut down, the install went off as you would expect, taking about 35 minutes.

As of 10 minutes ago, at 11:18 Am Monday, May 19th, 2008, my wife again has use of Adobe Photoshop, but she is of course at school, teaching, in Yuba City an hour and 1/2 from here.


Adobe Suite Looks Like a Bargain, but is not all of the individual softwares, but rather a giant one serial number software. Installing it takes forever. Installing it wrong takes forever and a day to fix. It is very easy to install it wrong. They call it a "Suite" and not a "Collection" I was informed, even though it says "collection" right on the box..

Even when installed at first it looks just like Photoshop CS3, with no extended. The "extended" part only shows up after activation.

The product is only shipped from Atlanta, or available in your college bookstores, sometimes. Students need photo ID and course schedule current or tuition bill current. Faculty need photo ID, paystub, bsuiness cards, the more stuff the better. I wound up taking in our marriage license to prove the connection, as well as birth certificates and driver's licenses.

The phone number for free Installation support is:


They are open only M - F , 6 Am to 5PM, PST and PDT
No weekends.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Believe in the Devil? Every bit as much as I believe in God

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Patti Ann, a Commenter on The Union Online, challenged me on my religious like beliefs, and I came up with this:

As a Optimistic Hopeful Agnostic, all thing beyond the flesh and blood biosphere will be revealed as you make the transition, if there is anything to be revealed at all. From age 13 there have been 3 possibilities:

the same
or worse

and two out of three is not bad

Given the ridiculous numbers of different people all yammering about their one and only possibilities, I take this as a sign from the Prime Cause of Existence, if Such a Person/Thing exists, to be patient, and behave in a manner that would be pleasing to such a construct, or at least behave in a way that keeps most fellow humans and myself reasonably happy. Golden Rule rediscovered, for the umpteenth time. So there you have it. Martha Stewart Style Exoduses with folded clothing and all non believers being microwaved seems like one of the odder manifestations of human creativeness in explaining the currently unknown/unknowable.

I mean really, let's say God and Jesus show up tomorrow at the Miner's Foundery and start performing all kinds of miracles, and then turned out to be aliens from Mars in disguise? How could you tell the difference? Aliens with Photoshopping morphing capabilities are not outside the realm of possibility.

Can I celebrate the possibility that some such uberGott crtter with benevolent thoughts for all of us exists? Of course, and in fact I really hope one does, and that we all have souls, or whatever, that allow us to continue existence after we hit the decayed hamburger state. Most of the time, I enjoy existing.

OK, so much for Religion 101, version 6.3 billion (one version for each person on the planet). I only answer such questions when directly asked.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Let's Make a Deal --> Visiting Workers for Idiots on Both Sides of the Borders

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I'm still hot for my ship off of Acapulco which serves as the place where working visitors to the USA can receive the rest of their cash.

This is all, of course, tied into major fines for those who hire illegals without the appropriate USB chip and good verification procedures.

A working visitor shows up at our border and is biometrically ID'd right down to the eyeballs and DNA, as well as the usual photos and fingerprints. The person is then given a USB storage chip that contains that info, plus a few security routines to make sure that when he or she shows up at an employer, the employer can plug it in and do a few more verifications as needed, on line.

Employee works, employer pays employee 1/2 to 2/3rd of the expected salary, less taxes, and a good health coverage plan, etc. The remainder is placed in an account that the employee can view anytime, online, at terminals at libraries and other public places. This gives the employee a place to check up and make sure that the employer is being honest and covering those bases. You'd need an ombudsman here to cover the screw-ups.

To get the rest of the money the employee has to go to Mexico, and take a trip out to the USA ship, out beyond Mexican territorial waters. The reason for this location is to keep the Mexican government out of the equation. If Mexico wants to provide a dock, and no hassles, fine, we'll use it, but we won't be over a barrel for it.

During the first year the money draws interest for the employee. During the second year it draws no interest. At the end of two years, the money goes into the general USA Social Security funds, as a hedge against the employee eventually being amnestied into citizenship. The employee then loses the money.


If the visiting worker takes steps that would improve his chances of becoming a citizen, or his value as a worker, then it is possible to:

Get an extension on the two year forfeiture clause.
Use those funds for tuition/books/computers/software in legitimate training programs.
Other items which serve the USA as much as the visiting worker, which I haven't thought of.

So, where's the problem with this scheme?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Is Obama "American-enough?"

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This is a portion of a response I made at The Union newspaper, to a guy questioning Obama's loyalty and 'Americaness."

When I see what I perceive as racist, and I do see your posts as racist, I react, as every "good" American should. It seems to me that if it was a shot of a drunken young Bush or McCain, failing to follow protocol, you would consider it a gaffe or faux pas. Because he's black and you are scared, you see it as an insidious plot to overthrow the entire country. I think your attitude is both silly and rude.

As I pointed out before, it would seem as though he is now "doing the body motions and words," otherwise U-Tube would have run out of space on their servers from hyper-videotaping Republicans eager to prove their ridiculous case.

In case you missed it, Obama is much more of an American than a person who goes around questioning if he is an "American," or perhaps to use his phrasing from a comment about Hillary, he is, "American-enough."

Go to his website and find some substantive issue to disagree with, and stop the ES about whether or not he is an American. By questioning whether or not an American Senator is an American or not, you drown yourself in obvious stupidity. He's been carded already, he's an American, trust in your government to have done the background checks, after all this is still a Republican administration...

If Elected, without Spending a Single Dime,

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Obama as a role model will improve the test scores in inner city schools by at least 20%. His election would finally give the No Race Left Behind score for the USA a "pass."

Happy smarter kids become happy smarter workers. What works for cows will work for people.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why Doesn't the USA Publish the Total Possible USA Reserves

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as both a Conservative Estimate and a Wild Man Estimate, and as a "drill within our current eco laws," vs "drill everywhere possible?"

It seems to me that the powers that be have no interest in you and me.

These are numbers that should be known as well as Brittany Spears, yet they are hidden in swamps of propaganda, causing FUD like crazy. (Fear, Uncertainity, and Doubt.) It must be serving the leaderships of both parties to keep us all in FUD on these issues. That's why I really don't trust any of them to tell the Truth. They've all got enough staff to analyze this stuff and publish it on the Web, and they don't.

On the topic of legislating the economy, did you know the Sugar Lobby (sounds like some hiphop group, doesn't it?) blocked bringing in sugar-based ethanol from Brazil? I love our "free malarky economy," with protectionism only for the rich.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Iraq, the Economy, Health Care, and Education, No Racist Crap

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Welcome to the Democratic talking points!

Has it occurred to any Republicans that they are dependent on having an energized workforce?

Do Republicans have any idea how disheartened and discouraged their workforce will be if they are allowed to retain the Presidency? Are they planning on going over to a robotic and overseas workforce, and a bunch of reeks and wrecks for an underclass, a la Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano?"

If the workers feel that they have no part of the American Dream, and no way of getting it, the USA will have Marvin, the Paranoid Android for workers. Ryss and Savage and the like do their best to propagandized that the Repubs have the workingmans' interests at heart, but reality is filling their tanks just barely half way these days.

I spotted a kid with a shiny new black Ford 150, stalled out on the side of the road, walking away from it with a 5 gallon can. He'd obviously run out of gas, and he'd obviously done it before, because he had a nice shiny new 5 gallon can. He, and the rest of the American workers, are getting tired of, "Walking from New Orleans." I wonder how soon that truck will be repo'd? Who wants to pay for a truck that drives from the carport with just enough gas to get to the next destination?

If Republicans want this country back on track in the global rat race, it's time for a Democrat to breath the air around the White House.

And no racist crap about Wright, thank-you.