Saturday, October 31, 2009

Surge, Purge and Leave

The whole country if not the world is debating the course of action Obama should take in the war in Afghanistan - whether to increase troop levels (and by how many) or simply get out.
I suggest a 3rd way: Surge the armed forces, pound the Taliban back into the Afghan dirt, then get the hell out quickly. The war on terror is not about Afghanistan. The war on al Qaeda should be fought with special ops, covert ops, and hard-handed influence on foreign governments. To paraphrase Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "Somebody in the Pakistan government knows where al Qaeda leadership is hiding". In addition to Pakistan, al Qaeda is known to be in Yemen, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and even Denver Colorado.
It is immoral to send American's best to die and be maimed in a country controlled by drug-corrupted tribal groups. There are morally corrupt regions on every continent but Antarctica. America does not have the resources or the obligation to fix all of them.
The Afghan run-off election will not change anything, and waiting for it to announce a decision is politically dumb. Obama should act now to satisfy the GOP, satisfy the military leadership and show some strength in a region that pounces on weakness. But just like Iraq, we have been 'over there' too long.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10 Musicians I have seen and outlived

1. Chubby Checker - early 60s, Odessa, Texas.
2. Dean Martin - never saw him sing, but I saw him strolling through the OCC in the mid 60's, during their annual golf tournament. Dino died on Christmas day 1995.
3. Jim Morrison - July 9, 1968. The Doors at Memorial Auditorium, Dallas Tx, in 1968.
4. Jimi Hendrix, Aug 3 1968, Moody Coliseum (basketball arena) on the SMU campus, Dallas Tx. One year before Woodstock. He set his guitar on fire, played it behind his back. He was the best.
5. Ike Turner - New Year's Eve 1970, Dallas Convention Center, with Tiny of course.
6. Richard Wright - founding member of Pink Floyd. Saw them live at McFarlin Auditorium (a 1600 seat venue), Dallas Texas. Circa 1970. He died last year of cancer.
7. Stan Getz - saw him at the Mountain Winery concert in Saratoga, CA in the 80s. Died of liver cancer in 1991.
8. Ricky Nelson - saw him at a Willie Nelson picnic at the Texas Motor Speedway, College Station, TX in the 70s. He died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1985.
9. David Carradine - yep Kung Fu, Kill Bill. He and then-wife Barbara Seagull Hershey showed up at the same Willie Nelson picnic with a band. They sucked. He choked himself chocking his chicken in 2009.
10. Walter Hyatt - founded Uncle Walt's Band with David Ball and Champ Hood. The best troubadour trio ever to play in Texas or anywhere. Thank goodness I kept their albums. Walt died on Value Jet Flight 592 in 1996.

Performers I wish I had seen live but never will:
Frank Sinatra, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughn

It took me 2 weeks to realize I typed Bill Ellis when I meant Bill Evans - that's why it's pseudo-suduko!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 ways to save home newspaper delivery

1. Unify distribution
I live in a Townhome complex of fifty units. Every morning the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle delivery vehicles drive through the complex. Many of them are only delivering one paper to one unit. What a waste (and a racket since they all seem to drive cars with the same worn out muffler). If the delivery system supported a simple way for one delivery vehicle to pick up and distribute papers from different organizations, they could save a lot.

2. Unify printing
All of these papers have local print facilities, otherwise the NY Times and the Financial Times would come in the mail, like they used to.

3. Ala Carte delivery
Allow me to mix and match the papers I receive. I often buy the Monday NY Times for Media, the Monday Mercury for Silicon Valley business, the Tuesday NY Times for Science. The Wednesday WSJ for Technology. The Saturday Financial Times for Arts & Living. The Sunday Chronicle for the pink section. Over the years, I have had home delivery subscriptions to each of these papers. Today that would cost a few hundred dollars per month, which is absurd.

4. Integrate Content
Last friday the New York Times launched a San Francisco localized version. The WSJ is planning something similar. Integrated content can't be far behind. You can read NY Times science articles in the following Sunday Mercury News - so why doesn't the NYTimes sell that content to the Merc (and other papers) for immediate delivery. Better read than dead I say.

5. It can't be saved. Like telephone landlines, the consumer base is shrinking to a level that simply can't be served. Have you noticed how many self-service news-stands have been abandoned by their carrier? The machines don't have the mechanical quality to correctly count ten quarters. And who walks around a roll of quarters in their pocket? Soon we will all read newspapers online or on e-readers. I am waiting to see the Plastic Logic Que, with a letter sized form factor.

Friday, October 23, 2009

There's an app for that

In the not too distant future, the web will consist of a very small number of social media platforms (think iPhone, Facebook, Google) and a very large number of app-creating entities (think millions). Who do you think will make most of the money?