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Sunday, March 14, 2010

iPhone is favorite of Microsoft Employees


The iPhone accounted for 25.1% of the U.S. smartphone market during the three months ending Jan. 31, compared with 15.7% for phones running Windows Phone software, according to comScore Inc. This trend is disturbing as the percentage use of iPhones among corporate Microsoft employees, Apple's competitor, appears to be as high as fifty percent. Many Microsoft software developers and executives also develop or use Apple iPhone applications. No word on the employees of Google, a company that up until recently was very close in corporate culture and cooperative ventures with Apple.

From the Wall Street Journal:
REDMOND, Wash.—Microsoft Corp. employees are passionate users of the latest tech toys. But there is one gadget love that many at the company dare not name: the iPhone.
The iPhone is made, of course, by Microsoft's longtime rival, Apple Inc. The device's success is a nagging reminder for Microsoft executives of how the company's own efforts to compete in the mobile business have fallen short in recent years. What is especially painful is that many of Microsoft's own employees are nuts for the device.
AFP/Getty Images
In a discussion about employee iPhone use, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once told executives that when his father worked at Ford, his family drove Fords. Mr. Ballmer is pictured at an industry conference in February.
The perils of being an iPhone user at Microsoft were on display last September. At an all- company meeting in a Seattle sports stadium, one hapless employee used his iPhone to snap photos of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Mr. Ballmer snatched the iPhone out of the employee's hands, placed it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it in front of thousands of Microsoft workers, according to people present. Mr. Ballmer uses phones from different manufacturers that run on Microsoft's mobile phone software.
The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio and Media on-line publications all reports estimates half of Microsoft corporate employees, including the original developers of the X-Box, saying they use iPhones, however many use an alternative phone while at work. At a recent Microsoft corporate meeting iPhone users could be found at almost every table using the phones to take notes, record, view documents during the presentation and text each other.
National Public radio reports that iPhones have almost become a cult, with a Stanford study finding that fifty percent of iPhone users say they would never consider another phone, one in three saying that if their iPhone was stolen or lost they would find themselves in a panic until it is replace. The same study fund that most iPhone users keep their phones active next to their beds, using the iPhone as phone, clock and alarm clock. A small percentage admitted to falling asleep and waking to find the phone on their pillow or still in their hands.
As for Apple's new iPad, within 24 hours of going on sale in pre-orders in the US over 240,000 units were pre-sold, another 600,000 ordered "on hold" for purchase and pickup at retail locations.



Held by the Taliban

I have been following "Held by the Taliban", a five part first person report from reporter David Rohde, who was a captive for a long period of time. It will make a great movie! If you wish to read these installments on what his life was like and his troughts link to the title "Held by the Taliban". It is worth a read and your feedback or observations will be appreciated.

First posted October 21, 2009, however coverage since has confirmed that the Taliban are becoming more involved as drug lords than as a terrorist fighting force. The lands they protect or occupy are for the trade of drug production and distribution. Taliban fighters now control and escort distribution in seven countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. US, Afghan and Pakistani troops are actively involved in drug interdiction in former Taliban held areas. And yes, the drug money is being used not only to make Taliban leaders very rich, but to finance terrorism and a growing Taliban military threat.

A tight spot for Biden but was it on purpose?

Vice President Joe Biden and the United States were put in a tight spot when Israel announced construction of settlement buildings in Jerusalam, considered the capital of both Isreal and Palestine.

Was it on purpose?

CNN took a look at that issue in this morning's broadcasts. CNN coverage states:
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set up a team to investigate why officials announced new settlement construction in disputed territory while U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country.
 
Netanyahu announced the probe Sunday after a meeting with ministers the day before. 

"There was an unfortunate incident that was unintentional, and it was hurtful and surely should not have occurred," Netanyahu said Sunday morning. "We appointed a team that will find the chain of events in order to ensure procedures that make sure incidents like this do not happen in the future."

The Israeli announcement of construction in East Jerusalem came during Biden's visit last week.

The Myth of Biparticianship


There are efforts on both sides of the isle to reach out for bipartisan solutions. But are those efforts more for the media and their constituents than a real effort at compromise. Both sides, the strongest incentive on the Republican side, want to fail in any hand holding to strengthen their own positions in bills, actions and financing.

The highest profile issue this impacts is by far, attempts at health care reform. Republicans want the president to fail on his top campaign promise, so as they did with Bill Clinton, they will have a shot at retaking the Congress in the midyear elections. The liberal and progressive wings of the Democratic Party want Obama to drop cooperation and pass as liberal leaning reforms as he can with a tight majority instead of the bipartisan mandate he would like to see.

As with Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (a rural Nevada conservative by nature), conservatives in congress are publically painting Obama as a far left Liberal, despite his open moves to move toward center and take actions for the good of the entire country.

The attached is from Politico.com, founded by reporters who felt that coverage in traditional media was slanted either liberal or conservative, at the expense of comprehensive reporting and real analysis. Where once political stories broke in newspapers or on television, today they break on the Internet, with Politico being the neutral party in breaking Washington and political news and views.





What helped politico is that many of the top reporters in the field saw the print world shrinking, and television news coverage consolidating or moving toward sensationalism. So Politico picked up some of the brights minds in political journalism and reporters and commentators.

Reid sets sights on Lowden

Harry Reid's campaign is already giving Sue Lowden the win in the crowded Republican field of candidates, dead set on taking advantage of  large logistic and advertising support from the national party to unseat Nevada's senior senator, who also happens to be the majority leader of the US Senate. The Las Vegas Sun reports on an unexpected turn in the very early start of the senatorial season.

Com safe at UNLV, but other programs will feel the ax

UNLV's cuts will be entire programs and/or graduate programs. The decisions will be made on the cost of the program per student, undergraduate, graduate or a combination of both. Department chairs have been asked to defend their cost per student.

The Review Journal reports that of all programs, the Communication Department remains safe, in part due to a shift from small speech based classrooms to large core academic content lecture halls.

Yucca Mountain Project closure damages NRC

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accused the Obama Administration of endangering the commissions credibility and ability to do its charged mission, according to an article in today's Las Vegas Review Journal. At issue is the shutting down of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository, or as Nevadan's prefer to put it, the Yucca Mountain Dump.

Will Ferrell and the truth about Health Care Reform

Find out who the real victims of the Obama Health Care Plan are...


http://pol.moveon.org/insurance_execs/?id=17291-4048754-Lbkg0cx&t=2&reloaded=1


Of course you do know that Will Ferrell is a comedian...don't you?
What about the other celebrities in the video. Why should we trust them, anyway!


The following link contains this and other videos. Warning, some of the videos have strong language or sexual references...


http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/041b5acaf5/protect-insurance-companies-psa


First posted 9-23-09

Sunday Morning News and Views


Sunday, March 14, 2010 

6.6 quake in Japan, but no reports of injuries. Buildings shook, some damage. Of course Japan is experienced with earthquakes and has among the best building codes in the world to deal with quakes. The quake was centered 125 miles from Tokyo. Those who were here during the 6.3 at Yucca Mountain, 90 miles from Las Vegas, may remember how it felt at home in Las Vegas.

Well over one million households are without power in the northeastern US, from Pennsylvania to New York, in the wake of heavy winds and storms. By noon eastern up to 300,000 are expected to remain without power.

Leave it to Microsoft to give in to censorship

While Google pulls from China, Microsoft and Bing are more than happy to jump in and work with the government there. This means giving in to censorship and to data mining of users personal information by the government of China. For

US International Police Actions
The Poppy may also be a flower, but a Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz knows, they are very potent and fragrant, and are the base root of heroine. The Taliban is now getting involved in heavy drug trafficking, primarily in Pakistan and Iran but expanding. Afghanistan is now the farm belt for a drug financed Taliban. Taliban commanders are using their forces to protect the crops, harvest and transport of drugs across international boarders, acting more like drug lords than a political or religious fighting force. This is shifting US actions from a focus on training camps and military posts to anti-drug interdiction in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Their remains a terrorist element within the Taliban, but the drug industry has led to more traditional military frameworks and defensive rather than offensive actions. The terrorist focus is shifting to home grown recruits from target areas and nations, trained at a broadening base of diverse locations rather than central training camps.

America’s Most Wanted
Have you noticed how the wall showcasing the FBI’s Most Wanted, and the clipboard of others on the wanted list, is disappearing from post offices, replaced by advertising for postal shipping and non-postage items for sale? The financial status of the post office, which is not good, has led to a new priority of merchandising. Another factor is that the FBI has put its wanted list on line, as we become an increasingly wired nation. Two out of three Americans use the internet on a regular basis, with half of us checking in or using the internet one or more times each day.

This date in history
Musical comedy director Busby Berkley passed away March 14, 1976 at the age of 80. A WW I vet, his military procedure approach to choreography and cinematography led to the now famous production number spectaculars. Stan Freiberg, voice artist and advertising executive, produced commercials that paid homage to Berkley, including the Ann Margaret salute to soup. Mel Brooks did so with Frankenstein’s Monster, as have countless others in homage scenes from main street to where the Berkley effect remains strong, Ballywood.


Finances and Money
For the first time ever the number of billionaires in the world is over 1,000, and for the first time in decades the number one slot is not from the Middle East or America. He is Mexican, one-quarter owner of the New York Times, and a monopolist who is loved and hated in his native land.

Ten years ago the NASDAC hit its height, right before the tech bubble burst.

Wall Street Journal report began with Bob Dole of Blackrock says the stock market will grind higher, with fundamentals improving at a slow face. Jobs and other factors lead to “two steps foreword, one step back” for quite some time. Consumers are spending as credit becomes available, with retail improving and manufacturing gearing up after having reduced inventory for over a year. This is a sub-par recovery, with jobs and housing values both still in the doldrums. Hours work, productivity, temporary hires, profitability will lead to permanent jobs at higher pay, but it will take time. We are in “the early stages of recovery.”

Dole says that market hate uncertainty, with Washington really causing problems with heath care of business reform. The close and polar division in Washington will keep weights on the markets and business for the foreseeable future.

Financial reform will take time and Dole does not see anything significant coming from Washington this year, again due to the polarized politics dominating Congress. He did not commit one way or another on any single program or concept.

John Watcon, the new CEO of Chevron, says oil and gas production is up, while costs are down, meaning the oil industry is meeting the nations’ energy needs. Chevron produced oil and gas in 26 countries, sold ad used around the world. The growing world economy, meaning third world and the growing Pacific and Indian Ocean rim, are increasing in demand for energy and in fueling the funds needed for exploration and research.

The world economy is growing again, Watcon says, with over 9 million jobs in the US alone from Chevron. The message he delivers in Washington is that we will need all forms of energy going forward, with gas as a key currently underutilized resource.

Daylight Savings Time
When first suggested Daylight Savings Time was about both health and productivity on the farms and in the work force. Today it is more about recreation and retail, as an attempt to give us more time to be outside and doing things other than work.

226 years ago next month a published article by Benjamin Franklin proposed that people should rise with the sun and go to bed after the sun goes down. Franklin wrote of the positive heath impact and productivity.

92 years ago Congress passed the first Daylight Savings Time bill, as part of a WWI effort to conserve energy.

4 years ago expanded daylight savings time was expanded.

Studies show a 6 to 10% increase in number of heart attacks in first thee days of Daylight Savings Time.

Traders in commodities and stocks lose money the first Monday for reasons that may seem obvious.

While changing an analog clock is simple, electronic watches, computers and high tech gadgetry have made advancing the time difficult, except for those linked automatically to the Internet or the atomic clock.


Feeling sad could be your depression
S.A.D means more than “sad”. It is a serious form of depression, most common in the northeastern US. The symptom seems to be linked to our exposure to natural light. Seasonal Affective disorder is more than the winter blah’s; it can be serious and impact other areas of the health of those who feel the impacts of being “S.A.D.”. While anti-depressants work, there are simpler treatments Bright light inhibits production of a hormone that makes us sleepy, and can have chemical impacts on our body leading to depression. Negative ions also have an impact on S.A.D. Both can be found by simply being outdoors, even when it is overcast.

Who is in running the Senate?
The Filibuster is not what it use to be, nor was it ever what we see and feel from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. The Filibuster was used by southerners to defeat and delay anti lynching laws, civil rights legislation and protects special interests. The reality is that the filibuster was rare, once or twice a decade. By the 1950’s it surfaced once or twice a session, in the 1960’s maybe a half dozen times a year. In the 2007-2008 Legislative sessions, Republicans waged 112 filibusters after Democrats retook the house and senate. And the reality is that the “Mr. Smith” image no longer applies, as no single individual has to keep the floor not does anyone have to keep talking. It’s all procedural. The procedure had taken us from majority rule, regardless of which party is in power, to 60% rule in the Senate. It also has contributed to the time and frequency of unrelated add ons to Senate bills, having little or nothing to do with the original intent of the legislation. In effect the filibuster, along with big dollars and cost of running for office, have led to our continuous election cycle.

In 2005 a few GOP senators wanted to restore simple majority rule. Both parties soundly defeated that effort, because both parties know that today’s majority party could be the minority in the future. Both want to maintain the control of the minority Republicans now use in record numbers and to record crippling effect. Both parties know that the people do not understand what a filibuster actually is, so come elections any inaction will be blamed on the majority party, regardless of what actually happened. Republicans are counting on that to reverse who is in the majority after November a to cripple the current president.

Yet Americans remain blissfully ignorant, thanks in part to Jimmy Stewart’s Mr. Smith, and idealistic about the intended role of our government, no matter how they feel about current politicians or political parties.


Face the Nation

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke of the issues on the president’s legislative slate. He says that this week is the week where the hard-core press for health care reform, “the climatic” week for health care reform. Gibbs says that if we do not pass health care than cost will skyrocket and all mid and lower income Americans will suffer from not being able to afford health care, much less preventative and other much needed reforms in how American approaches health care.

Senator Lamar Alexander says the president and his party is “thumbing their nose at the American people” by pushing through a plan that “they know American’s don’t want.” He says his party will demand going page by page through a 3,000 page document even if it delays much other needed legislation, because the Democrats are forcing them to do so. “174 times Republicans offered step by step plans” to reduce the cost of the health care system. He says that the president himself said health care “is a proxy for the larger role of government in American lives”, meaning that if you believe that government is tool large or interfering in your lives you will vote for and support the health care plan. Every major social legislation has had 70% supports to succeed. “If this passes there will be a major shift in November and a strong move to repeal the legislation.” Alexander feels that there is time and that we can go back to the beginning without the gloom and doom “the presidents economist” predict.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida (Democrat)

Karen Ignagni, the president of America’s health Insurance Plans.  She says that “now is the time for health reform, period, on debate. We offered the insurance market reforms the president is talking about. We helped get the ball down the field. But if it is not affordable then it will not work.”

Wasserman Schultz says that the Democratic plan has the elements the insurance industry suggested are in the bill, yet “the insurance industry is carpet-bombing” members of congress with contradictions and half truths to undo what they claim they wanted.

Ignagni says that “since July there has been a vilification campaign” against the “men and women in the insurance industry” who work hard every day. “We have to get everybody in so that health care costs can be brought under control.” Premium increases are driven by underlying costs, which is hard politically hard to deal with, because you have to taken on what is driving the costs.

Wassermann Schultz says the legislation, even in its current compromised form, covers 31 million uninsured Americans. “Insurance companies have a 51% increase in their profits while dropping two and a half million Americans.” One small business owner told her that his premiums for his employees rose 176% “simply because he had one sick employee.” There is discrimination against those with heath care risks in hiring and in coverage due to the insurance industry.

Ignagni says soaring premiums are being driven by increases in “health care costs” and the dropping of coverage by those who are unemployed or under employed, driving up the cost for everyone else.”


Green Zone
The movie “the Green Zone” uses actors who are actual veterans of Iraq, lending authenticity but also some real emotional catharsis caught on film. The soldiers in the film say the film is not “anti-war” or “anti-military” but an accurate representation of what they lived through. Of course the film has the same criticism as any other film about war, that it is unrealistic due to the compression of events represented or that it may not match the expectations or experiences of any single individual that “was there”.

Catholic Confession
The light is on for you dot org is the web site set up to remind Catholics on how to use the sacrament of Confession, the need to do so and to encourage Catholics to return to the church and to confession. Studies have confirmed that confession does reduce mental stress, some forms of mental illness, helps with decision-making and relationships. It also assists in keeping marriages together. There is, of course, a more religious explanation of the sacrament and what it does for those who take advantage of it. Part of the reason the sacrament has fallen on bad times. Fear of priest, based on the tough priest image, fear of self and embarrassment over what we do in life are all excuses given by Catholics, who since a public contrition was added to the mass in the 1960’s have felt less obligated to go to confession.

Unionizing Indian Casinos
Foxwood, in Connecticut, is North America’s largest casino, and it is now unionized. The ‘deal’ was brokered between the United Auto Workers and the tribe under tribal jobs. Most of the 2500 dealers are not members of the tribe. In 2007 a federal court rules that federal labor laws apply where a large number of non-native Americans are employed. Alleged violations of labor rights and working conditions led to a move by the UAW to organize the casino. Among the key issues were that “casual” labor were being told when and where to work or lose their jobs, which by federal law means that they were actually part time employees. Breaks and benefits were also issues.

The make-up of our workplace has changed, with increased numbers of women in the workplace, the implementation of technology, longer hours with higher work levels required for less money, the graying of the workforce and

Women have helped loosen the rules concerning full time workers, allowing for time shifting, work from home, commission or “results-only” based labor in areas that were once salary, the decline in labor shops and child care at fixed workplaces. Now Gen-X and the Millennial are entering the work place expecting flexibility, recreation time, less loyalty to one employer and more to your personal life and accepting lower levels of compensation. They are tech savvy and

Recession slang


The Christian Science Monitor is collecting the “language of the Great Recession.” The idea came from how the Great Depression changed the meaning of phrases and gave us terms we still use today. Here are a few examples of “recession” terms already appearing in select dictionaries:
Staycation or taking vacation at home or close to home at minimal costs
Insource is the opposite of out-sourced.
Intaxication is the sense of delight. Mingled with perception of instant wealth, form tax refunds or other unexpected and much needed windfalls

Madoffed means ripped off.

Decruited is to be fired before you actually start working somewhere, common with unpaid interns or those who are made to prove their ability with “audition” tasks.

Permatemp is an employee who is never actually hired by the company or given any perception of a permanent full time position. They may work for a temporary agency, or be hired on to “temporary positions.”

Funemployment is how we: enjoy our lack of employment.