Archive for June, 2008

 

Voice Activated Dialing

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I’ve been thinking about voice activated dialing on cell phones lately. So I thought I’d share my thoughts on the matter.

One of the principle complaints of the iPhone is that it does not include voice activated dialing. Indeed, with California being the latest state to mandate the use of headsets while using a telephone while driving, everyone faces a greater need for voice activated dialing. My issue with it is that I don’t think it should reside on the client device.

I’ve had voice activated dialing on my phone before. It sucks. You have to train it to understand your voice, and the slightest sound throws it off. The problem is it takes up too much memory and computing power to do voice recognition correctly.

That having been said, Goog411 from Google offers excellent voice recognition over a 1-800 number. Basically, you tell it what you’re looking for, and then it connects you. Makes perfect sense; they have essentially unlimited memory and computing power at Google – way more than my client handheld will ever have. So my question is, why doesn’t Goog411 hook into my address book when I dial in? It makes sense that it would. Let Google know my cell phone number, and when it sees my caller ID, it offers to look up numbers from my address book and connect me to those numbers as well. If Google isn’t your thing, then perhaps Apple should offer something similar via their new MobileMe service.

Either way, someone needs to offer this service pronto.

 
 

Return Of The Ascots

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I think we’re long overdue for the return of the ascot. You remember, that weird neck scarf that Fred from Scooby Doo wore? of course, I would never go for the way he tied it. I much prefer the Thurston Howell approach to wearing the ascot, under the shirt collar, in a style often referred to as the “day cravat”.

I managed to find a number of resources on the ascot, though only a few vendors. Here’s a good compendium of methods of wearing an ascot. And here’s a good instruction guide as to how to tie one on in the manner of a day cravat. Here’s another how-to. I managed to find a few vendors here, here and here. I particularly like this one here.

I think the presence of ascots in this video must say something about their resurgence:

And then there’s this:

A Milwaukee judge known as a fastidious dresser held up a sentencing hearing for three hours yesterday because a prosecutor came to court wearing an ascot.

Judge William Sosnay said the ascot violates a court rule that requires lawyers to wear neckties and “borders on contemptuous,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“This is not about the definition of an ascot or a necktie,” Sosnay said. “This is an issue which I believe deals with the integrity of the court.”

The prosecutor, Warren Zier, wore a red ascot that matched the handkerchief in the breast pocket of his pinstriped suit. The newspaper has a picture of Zier’s courtroom attire.

The manager of Harleys for Men haberdashery begged to differ with the judge. Ben Norris told the Journal Sentinel that ascots are considered formal and might be worn to a fancy dinner party. He pointed out that Hugh Hefner has worn them for decades.

Now really, how can you go wrong imitating Hef?

UPDATE: Jay mentioned American Idol in the comments. Found a link here.

 
 

Renting Vs. Buying

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Sometimes, it’s better to rent:

Matty Hmm
Matty A little bored this afternoon
Matty Thought i’d do an exercise on leasing versus renting
UG indeed
Matty Paul Macartney is my subject
Matty I note according to reports he paid 49million dollars to heather mills for 5 years or marriage?
Matty Assuming he got sex every night during their 5 year relationship (which lets be honest, probably didnt happen) it would end up costing him $26,849 per time.
Matty Heather aint exactly the best looking bird
UG then he’s a dumbfuck :)
Matty Now i also note, Elliot Spitzers call girl, Kristen, an absolute stunner with a body like no other, charges $4,000 an hour. For anything..
Matty Had Paul McCartney ‘employed’ Kristen for 5 years, he would’ve paid $7.3 million for an hour of sex every night for 5 years (a saving of $41.7 million).
Matty Value-added benefits are: a 22 year old hot babe, no begging, no coaxing, never a headache, plays all requests, ability to put BOTH legs around you (!!!), no bitching and complaining or ‘to do’ lists. Best of all, she leaves when you’re done, and comes back when you ask her. All at 1/7th the cost, with no legal fees
Matty Sometimes renting makes far more sense…

The problem with this analysis is it doesn’t calculate the float McCartney got by delaying his payment to Mills, but I doubt that would change the result.

 
 

Economics 101

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

A few links on economics for your morning perusal:

John Stossel on John McCain: “It would be nice if McCain would finally learn some economics.” Yep, it sure would.

Robert Samuelson on inflation, yet again: “Surveys show that people’s “inflationary expectations,” after years of stability, are rising. The Fed is holding its key interest rate at 2 percent, well below prevailing inflation. In the 1970s, this condition stoked inflation. An indecisive Fed risks repeating its previous blunder.”

Don Luskin on Obama’s cockeyed Social Security tax increase: “But the most alarming thing about Mr. Obama’s proposal is that the $250,000 threshold, above which the payroll tax would be applied, refers to household income, not individual income. So it’s quite deceptive when he claims that the $250,000 threshold will “ensure that lifting the payroll tax cap does not ensnare any middle class Americans.”

Suppose your household consists of you and your spouse, each earning wages of $150,000 per year. Currently, you are each subject to the payroll tax up to $102,000 of wages, so together you are taxed on $204,000. Under the Obama plan, you’d be taxed again on another $50,000 of wages.” YIKES!!!!!

 
 

I’m Dynamic

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

My personality type: the dynamic thinker. Take the free iPersonic personality test!

(via Henway)

 
 

No Pretense Of Objectivity In The Senate

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

This is shocking, yet it also isn’t:

On Friday we received a copy of a “confidential” Bank of America “discussion document” called the “FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008.” The March 11th document lays out in some 60 pages of meticulous detail how the housing bailout plan should work. The document appears to have become the framework for the bill negotiated by Sen. Dodd and GOP Sen. Richard Shelby. It provides rich information about who should get paid, how much it will cost, how the bill should be financed, how to overcome political opposition to the bill. The document notes that the bill would subject the Federal Housing Administration, the taxpayer bailout agent here, to $39.67 billion in “potential exposure.” This is much higher than “official estimates.”

One Senate banking committee staffer tells me: “We literally had banking lobbyists writing this bill.” This isn’t the way it’s supposed to work in Washington, especially when the party in power on Capitol Hill keeps pledging to get rid of the “corporate special interests.” But apparently that new ethic of anticorruption will have to wait until at least next week, when the Dodd-Shelby housing bill comes up for a final vote and taxpayers are put on the line for nearly $40 billion of bailout funds. No word yet on whether Senator Barack Obama will break from his crusade against “corporate lobbyists” to be on hand – or which way he would vote if he were there.

This raises a few questions. First, why hasn’t the Wall Street Journal already scanned the document in question and put it out on the Internet for everyone to see? Why is this buried in the opinion page and not on the front page of the paper? And why single out Obama on this? Surely McCain should haul his ass down to Washington to vote against it too?

I honestly think that if McCain railed against this bailout, a bailout of “Blue-State Banking Interests” he’d improve his chances immensely. The idea that the Democrats are the party of the poor is rubbish (not to imply that the republicans are either…).

Read more here.

More from Rich Lowry.

 
 

George Carlin is Dead

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

May he rest in peace. He was one funny bastard.

More here.

 
 

Happy Juneteenth!

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Today is the 138th year since the emancipation of slaves:

Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had little immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives, particularly in Texas, which was almost entirely under Confederate control. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves.

It’s celebrated in 28 states and D.C. today, including Massachusetts.

Learn more about Juneteenth.

 
 

If You Want To Get Pregnant…

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Then you’re going to get pregnant, regardless of whether or not contraceptives are provided. Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?

So I see this news article on Drudge about this incident in Gloucester:

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there’s been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, “some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were,” Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. “We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal says, shaking his head.

Right. Get it? Some girls decide to get pregnant, and proceed to do so. Naturally, one’s thoughts turn to what could have been done to prevent these girls from being so foolish. Probably giving some counseling on what life is like as a single mother, how hard it is to raise a child, alone, at age 16. But no. Time magazine thinks it’s the lack of available contraception that’s to blame.

I’m not even kidding.

The rest of the article basically scolds the people of Gloucester, describes them as white, Catholic, and blue-collar, and against contraception. But what available contraception would do to prevent girls who wanted to get pregnant from doing so is beyond me. The article doesn’t try to make the case that explicitly, but here, read the closing paragraphs:

But by May, after nurse practitioner Kim Daly had administered some 150 pregnancy tests at Gloucester High’s student clinic, she and the clinic’s medical director, Dr. Brian Orr, a local pediatrician, began to advocate prescribing contraceptives regardless of parental consent, a practice at about 15 public high schools in Massachusetts. Currently Gloucester teens must travel about 20 miles (30 km) to reach the nearest women’s health clinic; younger girls have to get a ride or take the train and walk. But the notion of a school handing out birth control pills has met with hostility. Says Mayor Carolyn Kirk: “Dr. Orr and Ms. Daly have no right to decide this for our children.” The pair resigned in protest on May 30.

Gloucester’s elected school committee plans to vote later this summer on whether to provide contraceptives. But that won’t do much to solve the issue of teens wanting to get pregnant. Says rising junior Kacia Lowe, who is a classmate of the pactmakers’: “No one’s offered them a better option.” And better options may be a tall order in a city so uncertain of its future.

Boy, I just love the MSM. Even when they explicitly know their pre-written narrative doesn’t make sense, they stick with it anyways. Nice work.

 
 

Mixilator

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Enter in a few criteria for your cocktail like time of day, cocktail strength and flavor type, and the Mixilator will tell you what to drink and how to make it. Pretty handy if you ask me.

Visit the Mixilator.