Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tix Too Expensive

I have to say, I think this is a good thing. I am familiar with the economics, marketing, politics and even aesthetics around the topic of new stadiums and arenas, but I still think it is a colossal waste to replace a perfectly good, 25-year old stadium, just because the ashtrays are full and the upholstery is worn. So I celebrate the fact that they can't sell out these expensive new venues. That it is NYC teams is just the icing on the cake.
Is This Seat Taken? In Front Rows of New Ballparks, Not Yet

After spending $2.3 billion on new stadiums packed with suites, restaurants and the latest technology, the Mets and the Yankees expected fans to pay top dollar for prime seats.

Instead, as the Times's Ken Belson reports, the Mets and the Yankees face a public-relations nightmare and possibly millions of dollars in lost revenue after failing to sell about 5,000 tickets to each of their first few games after last week's openers.

Should Be Standard: Paste As Unformatted

MS Word and other Microsoft Office apps have a menu option "Paste Special". This lets you control how the contents of the clipboard are pasted into wherever you are pasting them into. This is very useful, because it allows you to paste text without pasting its format. More often than not, that is the default effect I want. In MS-Word, my fingers have become trained to press the key sequence ALT-E, S, U, ENTER--almost as fast as they do CTRL-V.

So my wish is that all text editors would implement this functionality (or at least all text editors that read HTML; very simple text editors, such as forms, that do not allow for the formatting of text effectively are hard-wired to do this).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

GPS Review for NAV 740

I finally broke down and bought a GPS for the car. I hate getting list, and I figured they had finally gotten cheap enough. I have always heard good things about Garmin, but they seemed pricey, so I got the NAV 740, which was PC Magazine's Editor's Choice. The three key features, for the price were the 4.3" widescreen form factor, a good POI database, and text-to-speech.

I've only had it a couple of weeks, but so far so good. Parts of the UI are a little kludgy, but the main screen I find to be very, very nice. Everything you need, right where you need it and well laid-out. At $90 all-in (Amazon), a tremendous bargain.

As the user reviews I read before purchasing indicated, battery life is very weak. I have tested it, and it seems like 2 hours in standard GPS mode. That is with a new battery, I imagine in a year it will be almost worthless in battery mode. It's a shame it doesn't take standard AAA batteries--it certainly seems like the form factor is big enough to accomodate them.

A few states, MN being one of them, prohibit attaching anything to the windshield. So I had to buy a friction mount for the dashboard. It is pretty elegant in its simplicity (here is the Arkon mount I got, at a great price). The suction cup attaches to the surface. The mount is very heavy, and has a rubber bottom, so it inhibits sliding over the slick dash. You wouldn't think that would be enough, on a down-sloped dash like mine, but it really works fine. An advantage is that is makes it easier to remove and hide when parking.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over, Alarming U.S.

We need to wake up and discard ideology. Guns are instrumental in killing people; assault weapons are instrumental in killing lots of people, and law-enforcement people. The collective American conscience should be very, very disturbed by what is happening in Mexico. Maybe this is the wake-up call:
Tucson is coping with a wave of drug crime the police suspect is tied to the battles between Mexico's drug cartels.

Newsweek has an article noting the Obama administration's lack of willingness to tackle the issue right now: Obama Gets Gun-Shy. In terms of practical politics, I can see why that is their position.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dying Midwestern Cities

I have been morbidly following the plummeting fortunes of Detroit. For years, since the end of the SUV boom, even before the current auto-industry crash, it has been evident that Detroit was on its way to becoming a giant Gary, Indiana. So I tend to read articles about other downtrodden midwestern cities. It is very depressing and sobering. In a single day, I came across articles on these 3 cities:
Anderson, Indiana
Cleveland, Ohio

And this article pretty much sums up the topic

Meeting People You Have Only Spoken To

It is weird when you finally meet someone face-to-face that you have had a phone relationship with for months. You develop a mental picture of what they look like, and then you find they don't match it. Sort of like when you see a movie of your favorite book, and the characters don't look like what you had pictured.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lagging Economic Indicators

WSJ article that says the recession is now hitting healthcare hard. It seems that various industries and specialties that thought they were recession-resistant are discovering that they are merely lagging indicators.