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There's no such thing as a born writer. It's a skill you've got to learn. You've got to write X number of words, before you can write anything that can be published, but nobody is able to tell you how many words that is. You will know when you get there, but you don't know how long it will take. -- Larry Brown
If you take the time to read the 38-page storyboarded / comic panel description of the app at the first link, you'll understand why I think this is the most significant change in computing in a decade. This browser is, in my opinion, a replacement for Windows. It runs like an OS.
It's taken me a bit to grasp what's happening in the country, but I get it now. The Republicans are about to dump their collective tea into the media's Boston Harbor.
After watching the despicable treatment Sarah Palin's getting, I think we're about done. Don't get me wrong: I think the questions asked of her are, for the most part, worth asking. But here are some questions that didn't get asked:
1) If it's okay to discuss Bristol Palin's behavior, why is it not okay to dig into Biden's lobbyist son's behavior and the connections to his dad and the related legislation? Which one will likely have a bigger impact on the lives of Americans?
2) If it's okay to look into Sarah Palin's past exploits after less than a week of her candidacy, why haven't we had a full fishing expedition into Obama's association with domestic, unapologetic terrorist Ayers in over 18 months of Obama, the candidate?
3) If it's okay to discuss Todd Palin's DUI 24 years ago, why are we not hearing any tut-tut from the same questioners about Obama's admitted drug usage from long ago?
4) If it's okay to plaster Sarah Palin and her baby onto Us magazine with the title: "Babies, Lies, and Scandals," why does Michelle Obama get a pass on how her hospital shunts away the insurance-less poor to other hospitals when she graces Us magazine?
It's only going to get worse, I know. I'm not sure if after all of the negativity surrounding her by the heavyweight media types whether or not the vastly more experienced John McCain will be elected president over the hype and fluff of Barack Obama's featherweight experience and lifelong poor judgment. But I'm not sure it matters to me. What I do know is how blatantly obvious the media bias in America has become, and how no one with any desire for all of the cards to be laid upon the table can look to the media for answers.
What I hope, though, is that John McCain will show us the fighter he is and come out swinging. I know that Palin will come out swinging. I refuse to have the Hugo Chavez/Michael Moore/Jimmy Carter/Barack Obama-loving elites determine the direction for our nation. I'm pretty steamed about it, and I'm not alone.
Now that McCain has shown his depth with 3-D chess while Obama plays checkers, The One's campaign struggles how to answer back to Gov. Barracuda's factual and targeted points.
She's just a mayor. She ought to be at home with her kids. McCain/Palin is Bush/Cheney. Palin's family is unique. McCain is desperate, and he'll flush her like McGovern flushed Eagleton. Sarah's just enjoying her newfound celebrity. Palin used a Bush speechwriter. McCain is old.
In all of that nonsense, there isn't one argument about policy or action. Of course, when Obama can't get any foreign policy decisions correct (Iran, Israel, Russia, Iraq) and raising taxes for government programs has no historical success in boosting an economy, he's left with grade-school level taunts.
In the first 100 days of our administration, we will look at every agency and department and expenditure of the federal government and ask this simple question: Is it serving the needs of the taxpayer? If it is not, we will reform it or shut it down, and we will spend money only on what is truly in the interest of the American people.
Oprah, Matt Damon, Roger Ebert, Rosie O'Donnell, Annette Benning, Chris Matthews, and so on... all have opinions and they've shared them.
They don't like Republicans. They loathe Sarah Palin or find her "scary."
They love Obama.
Every person in America is free to have their opinion and publish it, if they so choose. And since birds of a feather flock together, over the last 60 years of television and 100 years of Hollywood, both have become Liberal-Democrat cheering grounds. For those in TV and the big screen who dare to express a non-Liberal opinion, their career suffers rumor of ruin. (Paging Jon Voight...) And so it goes - the winnowing and pruning of the tree that is the entertainment business. Conservatives need not apply, thank you very much.
I loved the Bourne series of books when it came out. Robert Ludlum had me with every page. Great reads, those books. I own the DVD's and thought Matt Damon did a terrific job. Then I read today of how he argues hard for his beliefs. Does it affect my enjoyment of his movies?
How about Oprah, with her embrace of Obama and shunning of Palin? Do I view her differently now?
I'm political on my web site here. I know very specifically of people who once read my site but don't any longer because I espouse libertarian / conservative views. Is that fair?
After thinking about it quite a bit, Damon's views don't change my enjoyment of his movies. But I am skewed on Oprah. There's a difference.
Matt Damon is not in the business of informing people. He doesn't pretend to be something he's not, except in his roles in movies, and there it's clear that he's playing someone else.
It's the same reason I can watch Tom Cruise. I don't get the whole scientology thing, but he makes a good movie, generally worth seeing. I don't care about him personally.
Oprah... it's different. It's now easily seen that she puts her ethnicity before her gender, which is her business, but she's not about informing people, which is the whole premise of her show. It's obvious now that what is on her show will come through the filter of her agenda. In my opinion, she suckered her audience into a "you go girl" assembly. She hoodwinked them, the very thing for which she chastened James Frey. And her audience is mighty PO'd about it.
There was a local blogger who, after I declared my support for Mitt Romney, gave me huge grief about supporting the member of a cult for president. I regarded his comment here on my site (now deleted) an open example of religious bigotry. My opinion of him changed...
All of us are defined by the sum of our actions and decisions - and opinions. If it's open for public view, it portrays and defines us to others. Which is why the jovial college football fanatic at work is always more popular than the political junkie.
Matt Damon may lightly influence a few people with his passionate concerns. Big deal, and good for him for having the backbone to be unafraid to say what he thinks.
The media is a different matter. They purport to distill the truth to us, and we're learning that they are masters of spin and omission. Oprah tells us that she never even had a discussion in her offices about having Palin on the show. Did anyone buy that? Nope. Oprah never said anything negative about Sarah Palin. But it's the omission of Sarah Palin after a few appearances by Obama that betray her poorly hidden bias. Fair to her audience? Not if it's information and truth that they're expecting from her.
Chris Matthews went down a few pegs because he couldn't hide his fanaticism for Obama. Is it wrong for him to have an opinion? Nope. But if we're hoping for truth, or full information and disclosure, then he's not the right guy. He can't be. He doesn't allow it.
The American public doesn't go to Matt Damon for truth. And they're less likely to go to the media, however you want to define that, for truth. You only get one side of the story from the media.
I remember on the night that Palin gave her speech.l Katie Couric was asking questions of Lindsey Graham and Steve Schmidt. She mocked Steve's sarcastic response to a question and asked what questions might be considered legitimate to ask of Palin. This, after he said that some of the questions being asked about Palin weren't simply unfair. Katie scoffed, thinking that it was perfectly appropriate to hold Palin's feet to the fire. And she's right. But the omission is the absence of that same stern line of questioning of Obama. Which is why 75% of the American public now believes that the media is in the tank for the candidate of their choice, which for the vast tilt of reporters, editors, and journalists, is those on the Democrat ticket.
And if Obama does bring Hillary into the ticket somehow, whether under him or over him, all he will receive is praise. No stern questioning. No healthy skepticism at the judgment of someone who blew the biggest executive decision of any any presidential candidate. Instead, the media will collectively stand there like Sally Field at the Oscars in wide-eyed thrill: "He likes women! He really really likes women!" The Messiah returned for the Second Coming, don't you know.
It's not Matt Damon's job to tell me the truth. Or Annette Benning or Rosie O'Donnell. I don't expect it from them because they've never sold that to me. I never had that expectation. So actors and comediennes can sputter on about what matters to them and it doesn't matter.
But those who profess to be the truth-tellers... part of their presentation to us is the expectation of a full report, and that's what we anticipate. When we don't get it, they lose audience - because that audience can't trust them any longer to tell the whole story - to put all of the cards in front of us so that we can make informed decisions.
But that doesn't happen. Which says to me that there's a great market opportunity out there for someone...
If you've ever read anything from the founding fathers of this country, you know that they were quite vicious in tearing into each other with words at times. Eloquent undressing, like "wiping your ass with silk," to borrow a line from The Matrix. The press back then was not a profession, but this thing that put ink on paper.
Today, those in TV and print and in movies are largely Liberal. And because I no longer pay attention to them to get full information, big deal. Instead, I'll celebrate that they're able to voice their opinion - while I also work to support those who can provide what's been omitted. If it's important to the self-annointed truth-tellers, they'll notice my absence. Otherwise, like water, I'll move quietly past them to get what I need.
The more I work with .NET as a web development environment, the more I encounter that I can't do. I'll give some examples:
I can't disable a button after the user clicks it to prevent the "double-clickers" of the world from clicking it twice.
I can't have multi-line datagrids. For example, if it takes two rows of table space to display a a single database record, I can't do that. The datagrid only likes one table row per database row.
I can't pass state information via links. Everything is button-driven.
In short, there's a lot of work-around involved.
It's not an enabling environment. Rather, it seems like an environment for lazy programmers.
"Want a quick way to display information in a grid? Do it in just six lines of code!"
(I'm still completing projects twice as fast as the company to which I'm consulting expected me to do, by the way.)
I've always been a Microsoft fan, but they don't get the web. They keep trying to make it into an environment that ignores the web standards and protocols out there. Which makes sense for a company that can develop its own OS for the whole world, but they tie the hands of the developer with Rube Goldberg contrivances to achieve "the web" by just letting the "programmer" just add water. All this does is encourage laziness and lax design standards.
From a Hillary Clinton supporter, looking at the Charlie Gibson interviews of Barack Obama and then of Sarah Palin:
How does it feel to break a glass ceiling? How does it feel to "win"? How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling? Who will be your VP? Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP? Will you accept public finance? What issues is your campaign about? Will you visit Iraq? Will you debate McCain at a town hall? What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?
Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders? Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job? Questions about foreign policy -territorial integrity of Georgia -allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO -NATO treaty -Iranian nuclear threat -what to do if Israel attacks Iran -Al Qaeda motivations -the Bush Doctrine -attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan Is America fighting a holy war?
With the collapse of Lehman, after the bailout of Sterns, the takeover of Fannie and Freddie, and now the pending purchase of Merrill Lynch, the world of finance is in great disarray. The scene changes rapidly... too much so.
So imagine that you're Joe and Jane Babyboomer, who have trusted in the solidity of these institutions for years: where do you now feel safe putting your money? Especially when Greenspan himself says, "We will see other major financial firms fail." I think we're reaching a tipping point.
Let's stick to what's true:
People always need loans.
People will always seek to have their money work for them through investment.
People want a measure of control in the stewardship of their finances - they seldom want to just hand over those reins.
In my opinion... we'll see more people shifting jobs, living paycheck-to-paycheck, trying to find new ways to make money, tightening the budget (read: recession) due to uncertainty about what's going on, and increasing institutional mistrust.
This is the time for the disruptive innovators to step forward. It's time for real entrepreneurship, to create jobs and initiate alternatives. Because the big institutions today fear the risk out there, it won't come from them - it will come from the fringe, as disruptions always do.
A vacuum in the market always pulls in new players. In these viral times, it will come more quickly than the institutions will want to think possible.
It's been a little over a month since I bought my Dare phone... here's a recap of pictures I've drawn on it.
What I've learned in that time is that having the right phone can be a blast, and I feel like I've reconnected with my artistic chops and improved my output as I went.
My favorite is the chess pieces. I did that one while I watched America's Got Talent with Tamara. Which is frankly what makes this so cool. No tubes of paint, no pencils, no canvas, no water. It's all clean and easy. Non-intrusive...
I think I'll take a break from it for a couple of days and then do another month's worth.
Water, I think, is the most amazing substance we know. Bar none. It has properties no other substance has and it is arguably the very stuff of life.
Water flows in channels. We call these channels rivers, streams, creeks, and so on. Water responds to gravity and drifts downward, slowly, in the controlled grooves of habit and centuries. That's what water does.
But when there is too much water, say, after an abundance of rain, the water swells in its familiar - even controlled - channels and while it threatens to spill over the banks of the channel that contains it, it's somewhat rare for a flood to occur in any given area. Floods are not habitual. Repetitive in great infrequency, perhaps, but the flood is an uncommon act.
Flood is a loss of control. Sometimes, people know from history how the water re-channels when a flood occurs. And so they seek to steer it. They create spillways and emergency canals. When chaos erupts, it quickly subsides due to careful planning. The flood and its violent threat become... a harmless runoff. Tragedy averted.
Entrepreneurs and economists and politicians should study flood management. All of these folks are in the business of flow dynamics. The only difference is that water can't buck gravity. But if a crowd or money can begin in one well-defined and frictionless groove, then they'll likely continue - like water flowing downriver.
What happens though when there is a swell? Where does the runoff go?
We think about this in terms of phone systems and lobby design and change / release management, but we don't think about it in terms of competitor collapse. We're not prepared for sudden chaotic victory. (Iraq is a great example of this - we won and then what was the plan? It took a few years before we recognized Petraeus' genius with this.) We're not prepared to notice or care about that slow trickle toward a disruptive innovation.
And I'm not sure that we're able to really track flow. Outside of our own org and - to a lesser degree - our industry, where does it all go?
In this surprising time, isn't an awareness of the flow around us critically important? Because crowds and rivers of money often choose paths we didn't intend, like water. We don't expect water to buck gravity, but somehow we expect anti-gravity when it comes to people. We forget that we aren't the only attractive body in the system.
And I think this is the reason that people who focus on what ought to be and fight for that meet only marginal success. They should instead recognize what they can't control and simply, "Go with the flow."
Register.com Customer Opinion Poll of small business customers has revealed that more than half (54%) of small businesses believe that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is better prepared to manage the overall economy vs. only 36% of respondents that believe the same about Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). Additionally, while the majority of respondents believe Senator Obama has demonstrated a better understanding of how to successfully use the Internet, the majority also believes Senator McCain will do more to help small businesses and protect them online.
Business is the heart and start of everything in this country. Those business leaders out in the trenches know what will help them grow and create jobs. And the majority believe it's McCain, not Obama, who will help them do that.
Today, I'm pretty burned out on America. That's uncommon, if you know me or read me. What's crazy to me is that the media has no interest in relating the truth to the public. They make their money by ruining the lives of people and recording it as it happens.
Today, a candidate for vice-president of the United States said that it's patriotic to pay higher taxes. His cohort's financial advisors are, in at least some part, responsible for the financial mess our country is in - as they were in leadership positions at the financial institutions that failed us and will cost taxpayers billions of dollars. But the media won't tell you that. These politicians are in the wrong party for that depth of scrutiny.
Today, another candidate's email was hacked, and the media is not outraged by this. Instead, she's derided for using personal email. That, while her partner for the White House is mocked for not using personal email - not by personal choice but because his war injuries prevent his ability to do so.
I'm not living in America. I'm not sure what I'd label it, but it's not a country serious about remaining solvent or successful.
Tamara and I wanted to see a movie, so we started out considering Lakeview Terrace. But after a visit to Rotten Tomatoes, we saw that it only got a 41%. Ghosttown, on the other hand, got 80%. Hmmm... we'll do that, we decided.
Loved it. Flat out loved it. Laughed, great message, solid acting and directing. Big time recommendation, especially for a date.
Subprime lending, as a means for alternative home financing, has taken quite a hit. It started two years ago when the data started coming back on ARM loans - that they were going belly up faster than other loans. Which should have been no surprise, actually. These people came into their loan at one rate, only to have the rate move significantly higher later, and that pushed some borrowers beyond affordability. Kind of a no brainer that a decent percentage of folks would be stuck between the rock of relatively fixed income and the hard place of deflating / static home values.
I worked for a mortgage lender not long ago. My job was Strategy Consultant. My task was to think differently - to push innovation. The problem is that despite every innovative twist I could conjure and for which I might fashion a business case, just about every idea I proposed hit the brick wall of Fannie and Freddie. Becaue the lender was tied to the 800-lb gorilla's secondary market purchases, if these government entities didn't have room for the innovation proposed, any idea became, as I was told, "a product without a home."
One bit of my advice at that time was simple: "We're a one-crop farmer. If something happens to Fannie / Freddie, we're deeply hurt. We need to start developing secondary market channels outside of Fannie / Freddie." While my manager agreed with me, it ended there. Not that I was coughing up the solutions that would have solved or prevented the financial crisis from happening. That's not the point. The point is that the banks to which we trust our money and our financial security can't innovate or respond to the market without the approval of Fannie / Freddie. That's a weak position - a surprising stance for the expected firm ground of financial institutions. (And this is industry-wide, not just my former employer.)
It's a good thing that Fannie and Freddie will survive. But what I hope is that banks will reduce their risk in the market through such a heavy reliance on Fannie / Freddie. Guess what's become fashionable these days, instead of Fannie / Freddie? FHA lending. More government. Do we really think that is somehow more sound?
Banks - which are private entities - need to wean themselves off the government teat. When the government becomes the main vehicle for homeownership, it's a recipe for problems. Government is never efficient, with the exception of the military, because the military encounters competition all the time. Deadly competition. But government agencies? There is no competition to drive efficiency. Therefore, the government agencies / solutions will bloat and lack accountability and oversight, as happened with Fannie / Freddie.
I'll write more on this later, but I wanted to get these first thoughts out about this now...
Fannie Mae was founded as a government agency in 1938 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal to provide liquidity to the mortgage market. For the next 30 years, Fannie Mae held a virtual monopoly on the secondary mortgage market in the United States.
In 1968, as a part of Lyndon Johnson's societal engineering agenda, Fannie was converted into a private corporation and the ability to guarantee government-issued mortgages was switched from Fannie to the federal government's newest creation, Ginnie Mae (Government National Mortgage Association). This meant that Fannie would begin to operate with private capital on a self-sustaining basis. Fannie was growing up, and she was going on to bigger and better things.
In 1970, Richard Nixon authorized Fannie Mae to purchase conventional mortgages, launching a national secondary market for home mortgages. As Fannie's foray into the conventional mortgage market began to surge upward, in the 1980s it began to purchase second mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages, and it also commenced its mortgage-backed securities scheme.
It started out as a government-sponsored entity in the Depression, blossomed into a government-esque entity that could accept private funding while getting subsidies from the federal government. The implicit guarantee here is that the government will stand behind Fannie Mae.
I recently became a bank, myself. I loaned my money out, at $50 each to four borrowers, at an average of 18% interest for three-year terms. That sounds like an amazing rate, doesn't it? I think most people, when they hear of an 18% interest rate, think that's better than a stock return - especially since it's a locked rate for as long as the borrower pays me back.
But it's actually quite the opposite of an investment. And that 18%? It's not what it seems. Follow the math...
If I put money into an account that returns 18% anually, then my principle becomes larger with time. My $50 becomes $59 at the end of the first year, almost $70 by the end of the second year, and over $80 by the end of the third year. That's a whopping 64% return!
But if I loan it out, interest only accrues on the principle that remains, which is paid down over time. At the end of three years, my $50 only grows to become $65 when I loan it out at 18%. In three years' time, it's a 30% return. Still quite good, but only half that of an investment. That's a very distinct difference.
Nobody borrows money for a house at 18%. The going rate? For the sake of this discussion, let's say it's 6.5%. If I loaned my money out at that conventional rate, then I barely make a 10% return in three years. If inflation is a modest 3% annually, it's a wash. My money didn't grow relative to the market.
So I'll ask the question I started with: why is there no private sector version of Fannie Mae? Because at these rates, there is no real profit. No one is business would do this. It's a recipe for bankrupcy, which is why subsidies are the only way this could work for decades. It's all been a big taxpayer-subsidized smokescreen, and we're about to pay for it.
There was a way to make money on this, but the numbers still didn't add up, and I'll go into that in Part III.
And I hated it. As a result, I didn't display it on the site.
Now sometimes when drawing on my cell phone, the limited colors makes it really difficult to do some images. And you can tell that by what I did, because I can draw and do art on the Dare, but there was nothing to like about that couch.
I experimented and found that I can expand the palette by using the rainbow tool. The colors change as you draw, but if you time it right, you can get turquoise, orange, and a bit of a purple.
Here's a video showing the progression of the revised (re-upholstered) couch.
And the finished drawing:
The limitation in colors is still a bit of a challenge, but it helps me render a better result, so I'm happy with that.
I want to see if I can influence LG to expand the Drawing Pad application to include the ability to create my own palettes and offer a blending effect. If I can get that, it's wide open.
So, in my work on 247Toolset, I've added the ability to favorite searches on Paragon's site. I'll add that feature to LocalsGive soon, and then continue my work getting LocalsGive ready for launch. A few charities have already loaded themselves into it. We need about thirty, and I'll be busy helping Sherry Borzo talk to non-profits to get them loaded.
About three weeks ago, I implemented the ability on my web site for people to sign up for my daily LG Dare art and receive it by picture message on their phone. I have 14 people who receive it daily now, and one who signed up for it today, a guy named Blake, is also an artist.
How cool is that?
Drawn on Blake's Verizon LG Dare Drawing Pad:
He's just getting started with it, and his first effort is certainly a good one, so when he sends them to me, I'll include them in my daily post as well.
So here's my thought: it would be oh so cool if a group of about ten artists traded their work, created on their phone, with each other. Ever heard of that before? Me neither. In fact, I think, after Googling it, I'm the first person in the world to try and use his phone as a persistent artistic platform. The more, the merrier, I say.
Blake sent me this in email when he subscribed:
After watching your youtube video on your dare art I was inspired. I love to try new things so being an artistic, musical, (right brained person) i decided to do one of my own. I noticed that my style of art was very simular to yours. I would like to send you the picture of it. It didnt take me very long and yes i do agree that the limited colors make it hard to contrast objects. I just wanted to suggest maybe putting a fan art gallery area on your site. I think that it would be very interesting to see other methods of art on the dare with such limitations from people everywhere.
Yes, it would. So let's see how influential we can be to get LG or Verizon to increase the palette. And maybe add a smudge tool, for blending.
Cool day :)
(You can sign up to have a new drawing sent to you daily by picture message.)