Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Thank You to Kemah Volunteer Fire Dapt.

After Ike I lost track of a few of my SBC/yahoo email accounts I restored one today and found this email sent to me a couple days ago.
just want to say a good word about your Kemah Volunteer Department.
On Tuesday, February 10, 2009, my husband, Jim Holmes, an insulin dependent diabetic for almost 20 years, overdosed on his insulin. I realized the symptoms and called 911. Literally, within 3 minutes, a fire truck, ambulance, EMT vehicle, a police car and a constable car were at our door. We are 64 year old full-time RV'ers at site 182 in Marina Bay RV Resort. There were at least 15 folks here to help us so fast I barely could believe it. Once the situation was assessed...less than 2 more minutes, these wonderful folks began wishing us well and leaving one at a time. The last two remaining were the EMT folks....Steve and Rene (sp?)...two of the most knowledgeable and caring folks I have had the pleasure to meet in my 47 years of medical experience. The started the IV, pushed the glucose, pushed the IV, and the oral glucose as expertly as I have ever seen. They treated us with the utmost respect.
While I hope I never have to see them again on this kind of matter, I sincerely want to thank them for the sacrifices they make to stay at the forefront of technology and timeliness.
Please include a copy of this in their respective personnel files and inform their immediate supervisors.
Thank you.
Jim and Marty
Yeah, those guys do work. If anyone from Kemah would like some more identifying information please drop me a line,

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words


I have nothing more to add.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

OOo Gaining Ground

OpenOffice.org seems to have a new ally in President Obama and his administration. Internationally OpenOffice has found support with many governments. Being multi platformed OpenSource has the capability of out lasting the computers the documents were created on. The company I work for installed 3.0 on the laptops used at every bench. OpenOffice.org is used to fil in test logs, reports and any other administrative tasks. Not just because it was cheaper, but its ease of use, and portability with Sun, Linux and Mac systems.

I wonder though if the US government becoming a major user would be a good thing. It could be as meaningful as the governments adoption of Ada. Would the government contribute to development of OOo or would it just suck all it can out of it. If Obama believes its a good idea then maybe there is something wrong with it. The recession will ultimately be good for the growth of OpenOffice.org, while Microsoft suffers slow growth and decreasing demand.


Comming Soon OpenOffice.org 3.1

It's a semi-annual event. but our favorite software suite will be due March 26. Actually there was a minor release in January that handled some bugs and enabled the grammar detection. While I've dowloaded and installed it on my machines at work I really haven't put the grammar correction through its paces. List of goodies promised for OpenOffice.org 3.1 is listed on OpenOffice.org Ninja.

It looks like Based ,the database program gets some attention. They Macros will be enabled, and Base now can use relational directories. This will improve portability of databases even across different OS platforms. Base has a lot of potential for data base users, and these features will be an important step in achieving more generalized acceptance.
writer.


There are some nice additions to Writer. Notes will become more conversational. This will be helpful in cooperative projects.One will basically be able to reply to another users notes. Notes the way it is implimented is very useful now, but this extends the usefullness even more.

Anti-aliasing is implimented for smoother graphics.

Calc is getting some more charting options and antialiasing improvements.
Unfortuanatly they haven't schedualed engineering notation for this release even though it is schedualed to be implimented sometime in the 3.x lifecycle.
Update: 1 April
Still not out yet maybe on April 15th

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Getting Revenge.

It all started on innocently enough. Galveston's finest attempted to crack down on prostitution in the area on August 22,2006.
It was a little before 8 at night when the breaker went out at Emily Milburn's home in Galveston. She was busy preparing her children for school the next day, so she asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to pop outside and turn the switch back on.

As Dymond headed toward the breaker, a blue van drove up and three men jumped out rushing toward her. One of them grabbed her saying, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."

Dymond grabbed onto a tree and started screaming, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy." One of the men covered her mouth. Two of the men beat her about the face and throat.

As it turned out, the three men were plain-clothed Galveston police officers who had been called to the area regarding three white prostitutes soliciting a white man and a black drug dealer.
They attempted to arrest a 12 year old black girl based on complaints on 3 white prostitutes. Beat her up pretty good, and claimed that she assaulted three police officers While she was hugging a bush to keep from getting hauled away. Radly Balko ponders.
So you'd think that after the police figured out they had the wrong house, they'd apologize, and possibly even compensate the girl and her family. According to the lawsuit, you'd be wrong:

This is Galveston and they need revenge, and to teach this girl and her family a lesson. She made them look silly, and needs to be shown her place.

After the incident, Dymond was hospitalized and suffered black eyes as well as throat and ear drum injuries.

Three weeks later, according to the lawsuit, police went to Dymond's school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Griffin says the allegations stem from when Dymond fought back against the three men who were trying to take her from her home. The case went to trial, but the judge declared it a mistrial on the first day, says Griffin. The new trial is set for February.
One may wonder why it was tossed out as a mistrial in October (the first time)
Roark told the court, "Well, the girl -- after I said, 'That's it, you're going to jail, no problems, no questions asked,' -- she kept striking and flailing about and then she yells out, 'Daddy, help me.' I'm like, Oh, Lord, Daddy? Why is she yelling Daddy? And then I hear footsteps, thump, thump, thump in the house. And I'm like, Oh man, that's Mr. Milburn. I know he doesn't like me because I told him before not to be selling dope out of his house and this must be his daughter."

Suddenly, Griffin cut Roark off in court and asked for the mistrial. The transcript pretty much ends there.

"[Roark] tired to taint the well by making negative reference to the dad," Griffin tells Hair Balls. "The dad did not know him from Adam. He just made it up. He never had any involvement with him."
This Roark guy was so enthusiastic about getting this little girl that he poisoned the whole trial. The trial that shouldn't have happened in the first place. Kurt Sistrunk Galveston's DA decides to go for it again. Apparently Mr. Sustrunk beieves that this 12 year old girl assaulted the police while she was hanging on to a tree for dear life. There were no weapons, so why is Kurt Sustrunk so persistant, and going after this family with assault charges. Could it be the civil rights suit filed by Dymond's family? Hard to say what came first the chicken or the egg. But it looks like the family filed suit to help pay for what has to be huge legal bills. Sustrik looks like he is trying to protect some cops and a department who made some poor decision. Unfortunatly the DAs poor decision doesn't undo the police's poor decision. So the DA office pushes forward, trying to defend a dumb move by the police to seek revenge on a 12 year old. The case last week also ended in a mistrial this time with a split jury.
GALVESTON — A deadlocked jury failed to reach a verdict Monday in the case of a girl accused of assaulting a police officer after officers allegedly mistook her for a prostitute.

After eight hours of deliberation, a jury of three men and three women told Judge Roy Quintanilla they were hopelessly deadlocked in the case charging Dymond L. Milburn, now 15, in the Aug. 22, 2006, assault of Galveston police officer David Roark.

Quintanilla declared a mistrial in the case, and Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said that, based on discussions with jurors after trial, the state won’t prosecute the case again.

The issue of Milburn’s ordeal the night her mother sent her outside to flip a breaker box switch was as simple as black-and-white, her defense lawyer Anthony Griffin said.
A 6 person jury was deadlocked by 1 person, and the prosecutors have decided not to pursue it any further. All this leaves some questions unanswered. One thing is certain actions have consequences.

Sistrunk will be held accountable to voters for letting it go this far, he may besked if his loyalty lies with the citizens he is expected to serve, or with attempting to protect the police from liabilty by contininuing to press charges with this one.

Black citizens might find themselves just a little less supportive of their police department. Does any believe that a 12 year old white girl would have been treated this way? All of us Galvestonians might wonder why the police are picking on 12 year olds, when we all know where the prostitutes and drug dealers continue to hang out. Where are their prioritys? The city of Galveston is facing huge challenges in the aftermath of Ike, and decreasing property values, Now they are facing a big liability issue in a Federal Civil rights case. Who is going to pay for it? It could be another year before this goes to court, but it should have never gone this far.

Monday, February 09, 2009

How Does This Happen?

Texas and other states with relatively low taxes seem to be holding our own during the current resession. Victor Davis Hanson asks why California with the highest taxes in the land is in such trouble.
How does one explain how California is broke, tens of billions of dollars in aggregate debt, despite having among the highest sales and income taxes in the nation?

We are naturally rich beyond belief—timber, oil, agriculture, a long sea-coast, wonderful weather, mountains, sea, and valleys—and inherited lucrative industries in tourism, computers and software, defense and great universities. Our grandparents left us a once wonderful freeway network, a tripartite higher education system, ports, airports, dams and canals.

So what went wrong, and why are tens of thousands of Californians leaving the state with bachelor degrees and above, while tens of thousands enter without high-school diplomas?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Less is More

There seems to be a trend going on, folks are looking out close at their computing costs. We all understand that high speed and huge screens have their place in modern laptops. But do we all really need it. What are our real computing requirements? For most of us its surfing the web, running an email client and typing a document or maybe running a spreadsheet. We just don't need a $2000.00 machine running a Microsoft's latest excuse for an operating system, at a couple hundred dollars a machine. There is a great convergence, of economic recession, user sophistication on recognizing their needs. Newer cooler processors such as the atom, and the maturity of Linux in such distrobutions such as Ubunto, and the realization that programs such as Thunderbird and Openoffice.org really do work as claimed.

Microsoft presented us with Vista an OS that that was writen to protect content providers rather than give the consumer something that was actually better than what they were used. The icing on the cake was when users discovered that so many of their old programs refused to run any more. Many users decided to continue using the less power hungry XP or bail out of the Microsoft borg and check out Linux systems. Ubunto provided a plethora of commonly needed apps, all in an easy to install CD and its all free.

The demand for large screens and higher speeds in portable laptops has taken away their portablility they have goten heavier and hotter. The traveller started finding them unwieldy and heavy. Today netbooks can provide what most folks really need. Net access and the abilty to run office software. Most net books run either XP or some flavor of Linux. and can be bought for under $400.oo This blog entry is being typed one an Acer Aspire One . It has a 9 inch screen 1 gig of RAM, 120 gig hard drive, and runs at 1.8 GHz . It is no power house, but it is suitable foor the job.

A New York Times article describes the market as such:

Meanwhile, more experimental but lower-cost technologies like netbooks, Internet-based software services (called cloud computing) and virtualization, which lets companies run more software on each physical server, are on the rise.

Penny-pinching shoppers like Mr. Title could have the most immediate effect on the tech industry, particularly if more people consider canceling their cable subscriptions to watch video online, or drop their landline telephones to depend on their cellphones or on Internet calling services like Skype.

Many consumers appear ready to abandon the costly desktop computer altogether. Analysts expect PC sales to fall in 2009 for just the second time in the last two decades, with desktops falling even faster than they did in 2007 or 2008.

The only bright spot in the PC industry is netbooks. Analysts at the Gartner research company said shipments rose to 4.4 million devices in the third quarter of 2008, from 500,000 units in the first quarter of last year. Analysts say sales could double this year despite a deep worldwide recession.

One of the criticisms of the little netbooks is that they don't have a lot of peripherals. My little machine does have a camera, 1 extended SDHC port, one multi card port (Mem stick SD XD, Flash ) but there is no CD DVD reader writer. At first the limitation might sem overwelming, but reality is that all the apps one really needs can be downloaded off the net. Music and movies ripped off the DVDs and store it on either SD drives or flash drives I find coppying to 8 gig SD media or or to flash drives is easier and faster and best of all reusable. They even fit into a pocket or on a keychain. Yeah I still use my desktop, and I will buy them again, I will be looking closely atLinux and will be looking closer at price than performance

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