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Easter Sunday March 23, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Photography, Religion.
1 comment so far

Easter Sunday Sunrise

Today is Easter Sunday. To celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I attended my church’s sunrise service. The photo shows the rising sun which I captured with my cell phone after the service.

The new phone books arrive, but are they here to stay? March 22, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, News, News and politics, Web.
4 comments

Yes, the city where I live still publishes and distributes free phone books to every household. My phonebook is actually two phonebooks. A regular size (8.5 inches by 11 inches) and smaller (half-sized) phone book. The larger one includes almost 500 white pages and over 900 yellow pages. That’s a lot of pages. And, if they wanted to save cost or natural resources by using the reduced book size, then they should not have included the full-sized phonebook with the smaller one. I’m not sure what they are thinking.

According to this MSN article, in America more than 650 million phone books were published last year (the U.S. population is only 300 million people) creating up to 1 million tons of waste. I don’t even want to think about how many of them are never used, ever. Most people under 40 never use a phone book. What do they use to look up a phone number? The Internet, of course! But that’s the point of that article.

Since phone books are costly to produce and are paid for by advertising the readership will determine how much longer they will be around. If it is not worth advertising in phone books, then the ad revenue will dry up and eventually the publishers of phone books will cut back the production and distribution.

So, what are young people using phone books for these days? Simple, phone books have become props for YouTube videos. Here are two such videos…

This first YouTube video is a type of European Mythbusters episode testing the myth that two phone books that have the pages shuffled together like a deck of cards can’t be pulled apart.

This second YouTube video demonstrates how to tear a phone book in half with just your bare hands. Yes, it can be done!

So, that is what phone books are used for by young people.

You may want to hang onto your old phone books because they may be worth something as an antique or museum piece. This website is dedicated to old phone books. If you don’t want your phone book or no longer need that old one from five years ago maybe you can send it to them instead of a landfill.

What’s Next for Google? March 21, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, Information Technology, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Web, Windows/Microsoft.
1 comment so far

Today I was catching up on some reading and came across this post by Robert Scoble. He said:

Several people have told me about an off line version of Gmail, coming soon. Other people say that Google, or a company working with Google, is going to come out with a new server that will let corporations replace their Exchange servers with ones made by Google.

Now, wouldn’t it be interesting if Google did in fact come out with an e-mail client to rival Microsoft’s Outlook or Outlook Express? And, to take that one step further, what would happen if Google did release a server that could replace Exchange servers allowing all existing Outlook and Entourage users to just continue using the same client software with the new server without ever knowing the difference? Obviously, that’s not something Microsoft wants to see, but it may  be coming.

The world of technology is always interesting and ever changing.

Kentucky House Bill 775 March 18, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, News, News and politics, Technology, Web, Weblog.
1 comment so far

Yes, the crazy idea I wrote about here, the one proposed by Representative Tim Couch, is moving through the state’s political system. To see the official bill, go here. I have downloaded the proposed bill (in the form of a Word file) and cut/pasted the contents below. Here’s what it says…

AN ACT relating to information technology.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

SECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 369 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

As used in Sections 1 to 3 of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Information content provider” means any person, business, or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation and dissemination of information through the Internet or any interactive service;

(2) “Interactive service provider” means any person, business, or entity authorized to do business, or doing business, in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation, development, or maintenance of any interactive service;

(3) “Interactive service” means any Internet-based Web site, blog, or message board that allows users to provide information to be viewed by other users; and

(4) “Internet” means the international computer network of both federal and nonfederal interoperable packet switched data networks.

SECTION 2. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 369 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) An interactive service provider shall establish, maintain, and enforce a policy to require information content providers to register a legal name, address, and valid electronic mail address as a precondition of using the interactive service.

(2) An interactive service provider shall establish, maintain, and enforce a policy to require information content providers to be conspicuously identified with all information provided by, at a minimum, their registered legal name.

(3) An interactive service provider shall establish reasonable procedures to enable any person to request and obtain disclosure of the legal name, address, and valid electronic mail address of an information content provider who posts false or defamatory information about the person.

SECTION 3. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 369 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

An interactive service provider that violates any of the provisions of Section 2 of this Act shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500) for the first offense and one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each subsequent offense.

What do you think? Is it even remotely possible that this will pass?

If you are a Kentucky resident you may want to wander over to read this post by Moose and follow his advice to tell the state legislature what you think of this bill.

Management lessons from the soccer field March 16, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Business, Management, Soccer.
1 comment so far

I recently took my teen aged son to a baseball practice at an indoor arena. At the same location and time there was a soccer game taking place. As I watched the soccer game I was reminded of many of the characteristics of a good team, both in athletics and in business.

The soccer players each had specific roles or positions they played. While they had clearly defined roles, they also worked fluidly and occassionally helped each other out and covered other player’s positions when needed. At one point the goalie moved way out of the goal and another player automatically move in front of the goal. THAT’S the way a department should work! I didn’t hear anyone say, “that’s not my job” or “who do you think you are doing my job” and they all worked together to accomplish a common purpose.

They also talked all of the time. They were constantly calling out to teammates and communicating either warnings (or opposing team members’ presence) or opportunities to pass or score. They anticipated things and then talked to their teammates to make sure everyone knew the situation and had a heads up on what could happen. It was easy to apply that kind of communication to a healthy work environment.

There was an expectation that each person would pull their weight and perform their very best. And, when the ball was passed from person to person there was a trust between players. Skills were needed at both the individual level and they had to rely on each other and work together to score.

We’ve all heard that a well run organization takes teamwork, but watching a skilled and high performing soccer team really drove home to me the importance of each person doing their part and understanding their role but being flexible enough to fluidly help out in other roles as needed and then go back to their primary role when they were done. To do that there must be a high level of trust and respect between team members.

The final thing I noticed, which is very true of a workplace team, is that players were changed out from time to time. Right now, I’ve got two team members that I need to hire and so it’s important that I find the people with the right skills and ability to be a true team player in order to have a well run department.

NCAA Website Overwhelmed March 16, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Software, Web.
9 comments

NCAA busy server

I didn’t catch the whole NCAA tournament team selection announcement so I visited the NCAA website. Boy, was that a mistake. Apparently I am not the only person in to think of checking the team selection and brackets online. Maybe in an hour or two it will be able to handle the traffic.

I can’t help but wonder if the web server administrators and web programmers plan ahead for the flood of traffic or if they just figure that since it only happens once or twice a year they will just let the server crash and recover from it as well as they can.

Does anyone know what kind of web architecture NCAA uses to host their website? (Moose?) — According to the Firefox plug-in, Server Spy, the NCAA website is using Microsoft’s IIS software. That explains a lot.

Note: After giving up on the NCAA website I went searching for the NCAA Mens basketball brackets and came across the CBS printable bracket chart. That gave me what I needed.