"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Airlines and the News Channels

Why is the FAA all of a sudden so concerned about the spacing between plastic clasps on wiring in all of these airplanes? Why are they shutting so many planes down this week, when the immediate danger is almost nothing? Why was the FAA unconcerned at best, deliberately harmful at worst, only a few weeks ago?

Well. Why is this headline from the AP getting so little coverage? "Cheney, Others OK'd Harsh Interrogations" (where "Harsh Interrogations" really means "Torture").

Diversion. Every politician uses diversionary tactics, e.g. releasing bad press late on a Friday. In this case maybe the administration thought they needed to truly clog up the news channels with something benign but something that dramatically affects thousands of citizens. It's not unimaginable.

Any congressman or woman who does not support immediate criminal investigations of the adminstration at the cabinet level should not be re-elected.

I truly get the impression that the current action by the FAA has nothing to do with the FAA or the safety of air travel. This may be an irrational theory, but are there any _rational_ theories for the current FAA fiasco?

Who should buy Yahoo?


Thursday, April 10, 2008

IBM's New Reality Runtime

Jerry Cuomo writes about IBM's "New Reality Runtime" - a JVM implementation, etc. designed for lightweight, RESTful web services, developed using simple, dynamic languages.

We Lose A Little On Every Loan But Make It Up In Volume

(via Steve Dekorte) a slide show explaining how "Collateralized Debt Obligations" full of bad loans became AAA rated. Sad, but true, and further essential reading for all citizens and investors.

If you've ever wondered how and why corporations can carry potential debt "off balance sheet", this explains it using stick figures. Even politicians could understand it. Share with your congressmen and women.

"But crap is crap, isn't it? I don't get it.

Economic Crisis Backstory

Mark Watson points to a Fresh Air episode that is essential listening for all citizens of the U.S.A. and anyone following the current crunching sound you hear in the financial markets.


From the Washington Post on the continuing crunch for credit...

"This is the equivalent of a hurricane coming, and staging food and water at the site," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in an interview. "Our responsibility is to be prepared for every eventuality."

Some colleges are already saying that their students' expected financial needs for the fall semester are outstripping what lenders are willing to provide...

The tumult is likely to push hundreds, if not thousands, of firms out of the student lending business, said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid, a Web site that provides financial advice for students. Of particular concern is the number of firms leaving the business of making federally guaranteed loans, which, besides parents, are the primary source of financing for students' higher education.

Ripple, quake, crunch, and shake... there's a point in the movie "Titanic" where passengers are playing with the broken ice on the deck after the collision. Not long afterward, reality sets in: the ship is sinking.

Large institutions today cannot tell you whether they've just grazed the iceberg, or whether it's ripped through their hulls. In the case of higher education for next year, it looks like a big gaping hole and there's not enough life boats.


In a matter of weeks we (the usa at least) go from senior FAA politicos ordering whistle blowers to stand down, to the airlines shutting down nearly entire fleets. Umk.

I have reservations to make. Which airlines?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Platform Wars

Here's what I like about this new era of cloud computing: rather than the useless language wars of the old era (i.e. sun/java vs. msft/java-ish), we are now heading toward platform wars. Amazon will add some of the "full stackness" of Google's, and Google will expand as well. And these battles are aimed at adding real value.

Microsoft, Yahoo, whoever else, will have to off similar capabilities, and new advantages. And they all have to appeal to several "stacks". Dotnet won't do it, at least not solely. Java won't either.

The stack starts lower than the virtual machine, just like in the old days. Only funner.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Portland's West-side Open Technology Center

From Steve Morris at the OTBC:

WOTC is a facility at the OTBC in Beaverton (http://www.opentechcenter.com/)
for open source and open technology developers to use without charge
(i.e., not for proprietary development).
We can use it as a quiet work environment or as a meeting place. The OTBC
presentation room is also available when it's not scheduled for other uses.

We are having an organizing meeting for WOTC on Tuesday, April 8, 2008,
at 6:00pm at OTBC. Pizza and soft drinks will be served.
Please RSVP so that we will have plenty of that available.

See http://www.opentechcenter.com/drupal/?q=contact for directions to OTBC.

Topics for discussion include but are not limited to:

- name
- attracting interest/users
- measuring success
- usage guidelines
- access/hours/security
- what do we need in the lab
- TBD/other

Mass transit to OTBC/WOTC:

Trimet bus 67 travels from Merlo MAX Station to PCC-Rock Creek (by Cornell
Oaks business park). Walk from the corner of 158th Ave./Greenbrier Parkway
to OTBC (0.1 mile).

We have a very beginning wiki at http://wiki.cs.pdx.edu/ootc/ . The
account creation password (just to inhibit spammers) is portlandia.
The mailing list is at http://wiki.cs.pdx.edu/mailman/listinfo/ootc .

Thanks. Hope to see lots of you there.
Bart Massey, Randy Dunlap, Steve Morris

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.