Archive for February, 2005

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President Bush a “devotee” of Ayn Rand? News to me.

Score one for capitalism

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There have been a number of massive and violent riots in China by workers in Western-owned factories demanding more working hours. The companies set maximum limits on hours works in response to Western labor activists. In related news, Wal-Mart workers in Colorado voted against unionization in an overwhelming 17-1 vote against it. Question: exactly who’s welfare are labor activists concerned about?

Essential Windows Software Update

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I have a new entry to add to my list of essential software: Google’s Picasa2, an image management tool for all your digital photos. Google’s innovations in online services and software have always impressed me in the past, and their latest release is no exception.

Picasa doesn’t introduce any revolutionary new features, but it does combine them all in a slick and very useful package. It will automatically find and organize all your existing images, and monitor your computer for new ones. Once in Picasa, you can edit and optimize your images with the built-in tools, including the amazingly useful “I’m feeling lucky” button, which automatically optimize the color balance and contrast of your photos.

The amazing thing is that Picasa does not make any changes to the underlying photos, but records all your modifications in its database, so you retain the originals and can easily undo any changes you make. A slight downside to this feature is the lack of an easy means to make those changes permanent, but you can easily export your photos to disk, online photo service, or web gallery. The only other complaint I have is that photos are sorted by only two levels of hierarchy – date and folder. For a free download, the features are unbeatable.

While I am on the subject, here is a list of free software essential for any Windows computer user.

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Michael Lewis of Bloomberg writes on why Hollywood hates to show how money is made. …Unfortunately, he doesn’t provide any answers.

Why No Blogging

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I’ve put on over 1200 miles in the last 5 days. I did a photo shoot for a Bat-Mitzvah in San Antonio, caught a fever in New Braunfels, ran out of gas near Katy, fried two fuses charging my laptop near Splendora, and got into a five car highway pileup (or rather my boss’ truck did) in downtown Houston. I spent much of Valentines Day in a semi-conscious feverish daze, so I better take my meds and get some rest.

New Austrian Economics Discussion Form

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I am starting an online discussion forum on Austrian economics. The forum will facilitate discussion on Austrian economics, with sections for anyone interested in economics as well as academics. I am looking for moderators and anyone else who wants to help me launch it.

If you’re interested, contact me and/or sign up at www.austrianforum.com

Rethinking Power Plugs

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Have you ever wondered why power plugs have the shape they do? The common American Type A design dates back to the original 1920’s two-pin plug design. Why are we still using 1920’s technology to power electric devices when virtually every other household technology has experienced rapid change and evolution?

It turns out that everything about electric wiring is strictly controlled by the National Electric Code, a national standard that is reissued every three years or so, but has changed so little, that aside from various safety devices, my dad’s 1960’s code book is virtually the same as his new one. Many, perhaps most, electricians are content with the standard 120V/60Hz/15amp 3-prong socket, but I would beg to differ.
Continue reading “Rethinking Power Plugs” »

Ayn Rand Centenary

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In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man’s proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.

Happy 100th birthday, Miss Rand.  More quotes.

Innovation in medicine

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Very cool: a pacemaker that sends monitoring signals by SMS and a pill bottle that sends reminders to your phone. Note that both inventions come from overseas – one of the consequences of the HIPAA regulations which have diverted funds formerly used to save lives to complying with government edicts.

NYC Photos Up

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I just uploaded my vacation photos from New York City to my website. Check them out!

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