Apple Sucks

There’s been a lot of trials going on out there with Apple pretty much suing everyone who makes a smart phone claiming they invented them, contrary to all evidence showing otherwise. Samsung is one of the biggest companies being sued, in large part due to the way they are spanking Apple in the world wide market with their Android phones.  What makes all this more interesting is the recent developments in the trial between the two in the US.  Samsung came up with a list of phones it was working on, but apparently too late in the trial.  They tried repeatedly to get the evidence admitted, but were unsuccessful.  In response they sent the info out to the media.  This made the judge mad, but as the article states, this could be part of their setup for an appeal if they lose.

All of this boils down to Apple taking advantage of a system that has major issues.  They aren’t breaking the law, but they’re taking advantage of problems with the laws to try to crush their competitors.  While many companies are calling for reform and fixes they are blazing ahead trying to keep the system broken.  I’m sure if the tables turned they would feel differently, but according to Apple fanboys, they invent everything, even if someone else invented it already.  Heck, Apple isn’t above outright stealing things Android has.

I wish all these stupid trials would go away and companies would just get back to innovating instead of litigating.

Posted in rants Tagged with: , , ,

Under 23 Olympics?

I hope this happens.

The Olympics are so much less exciting when a bunch of pros are playing and there is less chance of anyone else winning.  I love how soccer is different this time around.  Spain, who had dominated the last several tournaments found their under 23 team eliminated in qualifying.  Just like that the gold medal favorite was gone.  In sports where professional players can dominate it changes the field and brings more excitement.  I hope this happens for basketball, hockey and all other sports with this problem.

Such a simple change can make at least me more interested.  Then we just have to get rid of NBC.

Posted in Olympics, rants, sports Tagged with: ,

Great Start

Astros Fire Ed Wade and Tal Smith

Posted in Astros, rants

Why I’m not an Astros fan

I grew up in Houston.  I’ve lived here most of my life.  I haven’t wanted to, but that’s the case.  During that whole time I’ve been an Astros fan.  That is until this year.

The Astros have had plenty of ups and downs.  They’ve gone to the World Series and then plummeted to where they are now.  I was fine with them being horrible for a long time, until just recently.  Being horrible isn’t why I am not a fan of them.  Moving to the American League isn’t a problem with me.  None of the guys on the team are a problem either.  I stopped being a fan when they made my son cry.

Let me explain.  The Astros were horrible this year.  We knew they would be, but we went to games anyways.  We took my son and we told him about the players.  He really latched onto Hunter Pence and liked him.  Then, midway through the year they announced the team was going to be sold and had a buyer.  I thought this wasn’t so big a deal and could be really good.  After all, Drayton Mclain has done a horrible job recently.  He fired the general manager that got the team to the World Series and they’ve gotten worse every year since.  In fact we’ve even sent of all of our best players.  Most of the time they’ve gone to the Phillies, coincidentally where our current general manager came from.

I thought to myself hey, maybe they’ll spend some money and improve the team.  Instead I watch as they dismantle it.  They essentially announce they are giving up for the next few years and building a young team.  I think to myself that Hunter Pence, at 28, could be a good veteran to keep around and build the team around, so I’m good with this.  Then, with the new owner’s approval they proceed to screw it all up.  Apparently he wants the budget around 100 million or something else low.  With Carlos Lee sucking up 1/5 of that we’re looking at a tall order.  Do do this they get rid of every good player they have on the team, including Pence.  When my son heard about this he stared crying.  I swore off the team at that moment.  From them on I haven’t watched a game or done anything with the team.  I started rooting for the Rangers.  That worked out a lot better at least.

Moving forward the Astros can win me back.  If I see this new owner actually making an effort to be good then it will be a start.  Firing the whole management office at the Astros would be a great first step.  Doing whatever you have to do to dump Carlos Lee and swearing to never make a mistake like signing a washed up player believing you can make them good again would be a good second step.

Maybe someday the Astros will be worth following.  They don’t have to be good, but the team should at least be making an effort.  If the ownership and management is going to act like they don’t care then I don’t know why I should either.

Posted in Astros, rants


NASA has a big image problem. Right now we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. We’re trying to do it again, on a shoe string budget. The worst part is the public doesn’t really care or know much about NASA.

Here’s some great numbers for you from 2007. A survey found that on average Americans polled believe NASA gets 24% of the national budget. This survey was a few years ago, but I doubt much has changed. To put that in perspective the largest any agency gets is the department of defense at 21%. NASA gets 0.58%, yes, less than 1% of the budget. The highest NASA has ever gotten was 5%, during Apollo. It has fallen almost every year since.

Here’s all of that in dollars. The national budget was approximately $2.7 trillion. I’m sure its more now since we’re handing out money to banks. 0.58% is around $16 billion. 5% would be around $135 billion. 24% would be an amazing $648 billion. In perspective if you added up the total budget NASA has received in current dollars it is around $800 billion for over 50 years of existence.

I’m not saying NASA should get 24% of the budget, but this year NASA is asking for %0.52 percent of the budget. Congress is complaining about that amount and trying to cut it. At the same time they are complaining that NASA doesn’t do enough, doesn’t do it well and is always having failures. I’d say with what little we have we’ve done pretty well.

Posted in budget, fancy numbers, NASA, rants

Where is the sanity?

I don’t watch Jon and Kate plus 8, but I know a lot of people do. I just have to wonder where the sanity is in it. He hates doing the show, but she basically forces them to keep doing it. Their kids are like circus freaks, with people paying to watch them. Now they’re getting a divorce because they didn’t want their kids to see them fight? That doesn’t make much sense to me. How about stopping the show and getting counseling. What a bunch of idiots. I know she’s been involved in a bunch of Christian women’s programs and I hope those programs seriously look at whether people who treat their family like this should be representing their organization. He is certainly not without fault either. You don’t hang out with single women all the time because it gives a bad appearance. Even if you aren’t doing anything wrong taking a young women out on a date sure looks wrong.
The TV channel should be ashamed and should stop the show. The family should be ashamed and should stop the show. Most of all the people who watch the show should be ashamed and stop watching. This is ridiculous.

Posted in greed, rants, selfishness

Processed Crap

Recently there has been quite a backlash against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I’m here to jump on that. HFCS is basically processed corn sugars put through the industrial chemical ringer to create something similar, but not the same as table sugar. Whether this is a good thing is something that has been debated a lot. On one side there are scientists and doctors doing independent research. They believe HFCS is a bad thing. Sure, sugar isn’t all that great for you either, but they believe HFCS actually changes the way your body reacts to fats and other foods. Another group of scientists and doctors says HFCS is great and normal and not a problem at all. Of course all of this research is funded by the people that make HFCS, funny how that works.
Lately companies have started making their products without HFCS. Snapple has moved away from it and back to real sugar. Pepsi has released Pepsi Throwback, a delicious alternative to their regular soda. In Texas Dublin Dr. Pepper is made with real sugar. The only one of these new drinks that doesn’t taste better is Mountain Dew, and that’s because that odd freakish yellow flavored stuff is so strong you just can’t taste the sugar. I’m really hoping the public goes crazy buying these alternatives. I know I’m doing my part.

Here’s a great comic on the subject from Greg Dean of Real Life Comics (a great comic by the way):

I love how the corn industry tries to label HFCS as “natural”. If it takes processing in a chemical plant it isn’t natural. 7-Up actually changed their labeling from saying all natural after being threatened with a lawsuit about the lie. Because the FDA doesn’t have rules about saying something is “natural” the corn industry is allowed to do it. They’ve even starting doing much mocked advertisements to try to convince the sheepy masses that HFCS okay.
One of my biggest problems with HFCS is the way the government treats it. Because corn is produced in the United States and much of the sugar we use is not there are huge tariffs on imported sugar and huge corn subsidies. That means the government pays farmers to produce a product and penalizes external produces. This goes against a lot of economics. Basically a possibly inferior product is encouraged against market conditions. We’ve given over 40 billion dollars proping up this system since the 90s. These are the same lobbyists and farming groups that have thrust ethanol on us, even though it isn’t that great an idea. Of course that’s another rant.
I guess my general point here is buy Pepsi Throwback, buy sugar products. Write your congressman to tell them to cut out the subsidies. Bring back real sugar, if not for the possible health benefits then for the taste!

Posted in HFCS, Pepsi, rants, Real Life, sugar

Red Light Cameras

League City is moving forward, towards 1984 with the addition of red light cameras. Apparently, the city council and the police chief drank the Kool-aid and were swayed by the thought of profits. Many of the intersections chosen are the worst in the state. However, red light cameras won’t fix that problem. These intersections are a problem because the city council has, over many many years, allowed uncontrolled growth and done little to update the infrastructure. Now that they’ve created the problem, they plan on profiting from it.
Red light cameras just aren’t a good idea. They create a shady relationship between a vendor and the city where a vendor gets some level of power in working with public works light street lights. They encourage the shortening of yellow lights to increase profits. They also discourage cities from bothering to fix bad intersections. In Mississippi they just passed a ban on red light cameras. Studies showed the cameras were dangerous and increased accidents. One study, conducting by Texas’ department of transportation showed increasing the yellow light time one second dropped accidents by 40%. Of course doing that doesn’t bring any profits.
In Houston people timed the lights that had photo enforcement and discovered many of them were below the TXDOT recommended yellow light length. Surprised? Why should you be, using the correct length stops profits. Not every city has seen profits. This has led many of them to scrap the plan. But wait, if the whole point is actually safety should profits matter? No they shouldn’t, which just proves what the motivation was all along.
In Texas the money is set aside for a specific purpose. Problem is the state can’t even get their act together to spend it.
It seems like the cameras cause more problems than they fix. They create conflicts of interest, safety risks and other problems. Why do we have them, why the money of course. I don’t run red lights myself because of the danger involved. I really don’t think most people do it on purpose. It just happens in the rush. Doing this “solution” doesn’t really help. It just causes people to rush to the intersection and then slam on their brakes. Rather than come up with shady bandaid solutions why don’t we work to fix our intersections and set up proper timing on the lights? Oh right, no profits from that. Thanks politicians, way to look out for your constituents.

Posted in Politicians, politics, rants, red light cameras

Combining what?

There’s pictures of Levi in the post below this from our new camera. I know everyone would probably skip my ranting to look at those, so this ends up ahead :oP

I’m a fan of rock music. I also listen to a lot of “Christian Rock”. This in itself is a bit goofy, since the music may be made by Christians, but it isn’t necessarily “Christian” music. That’s probably a whole other rant itself. The point of this one is to discuss some odd combinations I see of music.

Rock and rap music are not very alike. They generally appear to different groups. There have been occasions where they have been combined. Nu metal is a bit of an example of this. Limp Bizkit and others fit that bill. This isn’t the general case though, and the rap aspect of those groups is generally much more minor than the rock aspect.

The reason this matters is the way these two different music types are combined in many locations. We have a local station here that broadcasts JCTV, a Christian music video network. They play modern music about half of the time. The retarded part of this is the way they combine the music. You can be listening to some rock music and enjoying several songs in a row and all of the sudden there is a switch to rap. This makes very little sense in a flow sort of way and is annoying, at least to me. I am not saying there isn’t a place for other types of music. Well at least any music that isn’t country, there’s no place for that. Anyways, do a 30 minute show of rock, then do a 30 minute show of rap. Don’t switch back and forth, it makes no sense.

The goofy part about this combination is where it transfers over to. For the Grammys there is a separate category for rap and for rock when it comes to mainstream music. These two groups would riot if you tried to combine them. They are separate genres and have their own merits. When it comes to the Christian music (they call it Gospel) part of the Grammys the two are combined. There is a single Rock/Rap category. Strangely country and traditional gospel, both of which release fewer total albums are separate categories for awards. This just seems like laziness on the Grammys part, and a bit of an insult as well.

This doesn’t just happen in music. If you look at the Emmys they do something similar. There is an award for Best Musical or Comedy. Since when are those the same thing?

Let’s stop combining things that don’t belong together. I won’t put Spam in your ice cream and you can leave rap out of my rock and roll.

Posted in music, rants, rap, rock

A Dream

Today is a historic day for the United States. Today the first man of African descent will be sworn in as president. It is fitting that this occurs after Martin Luther King day. His dream is at least partially fulfilled. Unfortunately, not all of it has been.
There is still a lot of ridiculous stuff going on. Watching the news coverage of the inaguration yeasterday I noticed something odd. All of the reporters sent to DC from local stations and most national stations were black. Now I am not saying they don’t deserve to be there, but if we are supposed to ignore color then what happened here? I am pretty sure skin pigment has little to do with how good a reporter is. If we want to fulfill Dr. King’s dream we should all be together regardless of race.
I think Obama has a great chance to push this dream forward. He called for people to go out and serve on MLK day. I think Dr. King would love this. This is in sharp contrast to people I once worked with who would call in sick on MLK day so they could sit at home and goof off. This doesn’t honor his legacy, it mocks it. A man who fought for everyone to have the right to have a job on equal terms would not want us to lie to that job. He certainly wouldn’t want to do it in honor of his birthday. I think Obama made a great step by calling for service on that day. That truly honors Dr. King.
Obama has an opportunity now to do something no other president in recent history has done. He can unite a lot of people. Our country has grown more and more divided through the Clinton and Bush presidencies. Obama has a chance to repair that. I don’t know that he is the second coming as some people seem to think, but by being a good even handed leader he can do a lot. If he can keep his party from trying to swing too far to the left; if he can get people off all races and backgrounds to work together; if he can work across party lines, then we all will benefit.
I didn’t vote for Obama. I don’t agree with all of what he beleives. In fact I don’t think Dr. King would either. But as a biracial man he has an opportunity to represent more than just one group. He can represent us all. As a Christian I will pray for him even if I didn’t vote him. If he works to heal, rebuild and protect this country he will have my support. Going forward I hope he can do all of what he has promised and fulfill all of the hype. If he can then perhaps Dr. King’s dream will come true. Perhaps my son will grow up in a stable, happy, color blind America. That sounds like a great dream.

Posted in dream, inaguration, MLK, obama, rants