When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Most essential travel computer gadget

I wrote last week of the limitations of Windows 8. This is related--a mouse is still better than a trackpad when it comes to content creation--

The most essential travel computer gadget - CBS News:  "Rick observed that wherever he goes -- coffee shops and elsewhere -- he sees many people making do with the trackpad built into their laptops. But trackpads are a device of last resort, sort of like the ejection seat in a jet plane or the "vegetable medley" on a restaurant menu. Trackpads are not ergonomic and -- thanks to the ease with which you can brush the surface and cause unintended edits to a document -- highly accident prone. It doesn't have to be that way. Do yourself a favor and pick up a small and inexpensive travel mouse that you can use wherever you taker your laptop. Rick recommends the Logitech M125, a nice little mouse that can be had for as little as $10."


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy Crisis Map update

A follow-up to my post of yesterday mid-day in which I made my prediction (bold below)--Views under the Palm - johnmpoole.com: Hurricane Sandy: stay informed, stay safe, don't panic!: "Loss of electric power will be the worst thing that will happen to most people in the path of this storm."--

Google for Media Yesterday 10:11 PMSandy map updated with power company links--With over 3 million people on the East Coast of the US without power, we've updated our map to show by default a layer with links to power companies' maps showing outages.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: stay informed, stay safe, don't panic!


Re: Hurricane Sandy - It's disconcerting to see people needlessly panic. Oh, I understand the purpose of the media hype (ratings), and politicians posturing ("PR" and getting in line for federal $$$), and of course the "panic buying" has been great for Home Depot and Walmart, but honestly, having lived in Florida and gone through 4 hurricanes in 1 year alone (2004), a little reality check is appropriate.

Precautions are appropriate--but should be in accord with accurate information:
National Hurricane Center:  http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at3.shtml?gm_track#contents
Google Crisis Map (Sandy)http://crisislanding.appspot.com/crisismap/2012-sandy

Here's a snapshot of the projected path (advisory #029) of the storm (from the National Hurricane Center):
Graphic of Hurricane Sandy path and cone
National Hurricane Center projected path for Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is only a  Category 1 hurricane--maximum sustained winds of only 90 mph as of 2 pm EDT. You can expect precipitation (rain/snow), wind, some flooding, and some coastal storm surge, depending on your actual physical location. Loss of electric power will be the worst thing that will happen to most people in the path of this storm.

Stay informed. Stay safe. But don't panic.


The Des Moines Register endorsement: "Mitt Romney offers a fresh economic vision"

If Romney wins, this will be the overriding "reason"--

The Register endorsement: Mitt Romney offers a fresh economic vision | The Des Moines Register | desmoinesregister.com: "The nation has struggled to recover from recession for the past 40 months. Still, the economy is growing at an unacceptably anemic rate of around 2 percent a year and could slip back into recession depending on what happens in the European Union and China. The workforce is still 4.5 million jobs short of the nearly 9 million that were lost in the recession. Longer term, looming deficits driven by Social Security and Medicare pose the single greatest threats to the nation’s economic security. The president’s best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House."


Sunday, October 28, 2012

DNC website has all the details on Mitt Romney's tax plan

Whether you are for or against Romney or Obama, the Democratic National Committee gets the prize for the cleverest (and most humorous) campaign website--www.romneytaxplan.com

For all the details on Mitt Romney's 5 trillion dollar tax plan visit ROMNEYTAXPLAN.COM: "For a detailed explanation of how the Romney-Ryan tax plan is able to cut taxes by $5 trillion without exploding the deficit or requiring tax hikes on the middle class, simply click the button . . ."


Saturday, October 27, 2012

New York Police Officer Held in Plots to Kidnap, Rape, Cook and Eat Women

OMG!--From the New York Times--you can't make this stuff up:

"And then the officer, Gilberto Valle, a six-year veteran of the New York Police Department, created a document on his computer, calling it a blueprint for “Abducting and Cooking.” In one of the most disturbing and unusual arrests involving a police officer, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation took Officer Valle into custody on Wednesday after they uncovered several plots to kidnap, rape, cook and eat women."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Early look at Windows 8 baffles consumers

I've been warning my readers all week, so here's my final note:

Early look at Windows 8 baffles consumers: "Microsoft is making a radical break with the past to stay relevant in a world where smartphones and tablets have eroded the three-decade dominance of the personal computer. Windows 8 is supposed to tie together Microsoft's PC, tablet and phone software with one look. But judging by the reactions of some people who have tried the PC version, it's a move that risks confusing and alienating customers. Tony Roos, an American missionary in Paris, installed a free preview version of Windows 8 on his aging laptop to see if Microsoft's new operating system would make the PC faster and more responsive. It didn't, he said, and he quickly learned that working with the new software requires tossing out a lot of what he knows about Windows. "It was very difficult to get used to," he said. "I have an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, and they never got used to it. They were like, 'We're just going to use Mom's computer.'""

Windows 8? Caveat Emptor!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Windows 8 interface confusing on the desktop

If you use a PC (desktop or notebook), think twice before you move to Windows 8--

Daily Report: Windows Makeover May Cause Head-Scratching - NYTimes.com: "Little about the new Windows will look familiar to those who have used older versions. The Start screen, a kind of main menu, is dominated by a colorful grid of rectangles and squares that users can tap with a finger or click with a mouse to start applications. Many of these so-called live tiles constantly flicker with new information piped in from the Internet, like news headlines and Facebook photos. What is harder to find are many of the conventions that have been a part of PCs since most people began using them, like the strip of icons at the bottom of the screen for jumping between applications."


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Windows 8? Watch this video before you decide

The New York Times invited five computer users to try their hands at navigating Microsoft's new tablet-friendly redesign. You decide. I already did--I'm sticking with Windows 7.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Election now down to just 7 states, 66 Electoral Votes

Election now two weeks from today--here's the latest from the poll prognosticators:

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll - Rasmussen Reports™: "In the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College projections, the president has 237 Electoral Votes and Romney 235. The magic number needed to win the White House is 270. Seven states with 66 Electoral College votes remain Toss-ups: Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado,  Iowa,  Nevada  and New Hampshire. "

If these numbers hold up, Romney can win with just 3 of the 7 toss-up states: Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire

Here's the map and electoral college breakdown: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/archive/2012_electoral_college_scoreboard

You do the math (and prognosticating)--here's a link to creating your own scenario:

As I've said before--pick your poison!


Tom Wolfe's 'Back to Blood' in Miami


3rd Debate - Obama clear winner

photo of Presidential debate between Romney and Obama
Debate photo from CBS News/Livestream

The third debate--it wasn't until 10:28 pm (debate almost over) before Romney ever laid a glove on Obama--where was Romney all night before that? It was actually the best debate performance by President Obama.

But who knows if debates matter?


Monday, October 22, 2012

McNamee: Windows Is Over, We're In a New Tech World

Elevation Partners Managing Director Roger McNamee discusses the evolving tech world. He speaks with Willow Bay on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West" on Sept. 18 (Source: Bloomberg)


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Balancing Brazil's Forests video

Balancing Brazil's Forests video
In Brazil's breadbasket, Mato Grosso, there are efforts to fight climate change by paying landowners to preserve forests.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

American crocodile coming back (video)

The American crocodile is making a comeback. CNN's John Zarrella reports from Miami.

American crocodile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is a species of crocodilian found in the Neotropics. It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas. Populations occur from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico to South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. It also lives within many river systems on Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. Within the United States of America, the American crocodile's habitat is limited to the southern half of Florida, and has an estimated population of 2,000. The habitat of the American crocodile consists largely of coastal areas. It is larger than some other crocodile species, with some males reaching lengths of 6.1 m (20 ft)."


Friday, October 19, 2012

Who needs a cellphone

Who Needs a Cellphone, Anyway?
Some Americans have given up their cellphones to cut back on living expenses, while others have traded in their high-cost wireless contracts for more-affordable prepaid service plans, Anton Troianovski reports on digits.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time-lapse video: Space shuttle Endeavour’s trek across L.A


Time-lapse video: Space shuttle Endeavour’s trek across L.A. - Framework - Photos and Video - Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times: "Time-lapse video: Space shuttle Endeavour’s trek across L.A. Posted By: Bryan Chan Posted On: 8:48 p.m. | October 15, 2012 The space shuttle Endeavour made its final journey last weekend, traveling 12-miles from Los Angeles International Airport, through Inglewood, to the California Science Center in Exposition Park."


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Second Debate: America Deserves Better

OK, a posting on last night's second "Presidential Debate" (in reality a "forum") held in New York (solid blue state), moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley. Obama came out swinging to satisfy those unhappy with his performance in the first debate. Romney pretty much held his own, though I thought he "muffed" his chance to KO Obama on the Obama administration's gross incompetence on Libya (Obama, Clinton, Susan Rice, et al, blaming it on an obscure YouTube video, etc.). I came away with the following impressions:

Next time (in four years) there is a forum held, it needs to be held in a state that is neither solidly blue nor solidly red. New York was an inappropriate choice--no offense to the New Yorkers--but you are not representative of the independent-minded voters who will decide this election in places like Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc.

Candy Crowley was  awful (as I suspected she would be)--she failed to control the candidates (Obama got a lot more time than Romney), started to become "Judge and Jury" during the debate, and betrayed a partisan (Democratic) bias in other ways. In short, she's not up to the job and should be banned from further debates as a moderator.

The candidates? As I've written before--pick your poison. That said, I am starting to feel a little sorry for Obama--I think he knows there's a good chance he is going to lose the election, and now he's trying too hard to try to get the advantage back. He (and some of his campaign spokespeople) are starting to sound "desperate"--hardly "Presidential." As a result, he's losing the advantage any incumbent President always has, and allowing Romney (who always has a CEO/Mormon/Midwestern bearing) to look/sound more "Presidential."  I know this is "optics," not substance, but Don Draper would tell you "optics" can and does win elections (think of JFK-Nixon where John Kennedy won the debate, and probably the election, on "optics"). So on points, it was pretty much a draw, maybe even give Obama the edge. On optics, Romney won. The "experts" say any challenger who can come out of a debate with a sitting President in an even draw, wins.

Finally, I wonder what the debate last night would have been like had the Presidential candidates been Condi Rice and Hillary Clinton? Much better, I suspect, than what we got. Much better. And America deserves better.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lee Daniels, Director of The Paperboy

Recommended: Charlie Rose interview of Lee Daniels, director of The Paperboy (click on photo or link below for the video):

photo of Lee Daniels, director of the Paperboy

Lee Daniels, Director of The Paperboy interviewed by Charlie Rose


Monday, October 15, 2012

Tea & the Art of Life Management

I recommend: Tea & the Art of Life Management from jesse jacobs on Vimeo.
Join Leo Babauta, author of the blog Zen Habits, Four Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss, and VP of the San Francisco Zen Center, Susan O'Connell as we have tea, and connect on the meaning of life, zen, and how to live with joy in a world full of technology and distraction.

Topics Include...
- What is Zen?
- How to meditate
- How these people manage their lives
- How to live with meaning
- How to use the technology and the tools of our times


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wonder if Obama will blame it on a YouTube video?

Pakistan outraged over girl's shooting, but crackdown unlikely - latimes.com: "On city streets, on the airwaves and in the newspapers of a country numbed by years of bombings and assassinations, outrage against the Taliban is suddenly reaching a zenith. A 14-year-old girl lies critically wounded because she was bold enough to publicly demand an education."

Read the full story at the link above. This speaks volumes about the Muslim world, the ignorance and incompetence of the Obama administration, and the sorry state of American intelligence (sic)--


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Only Way Forward For Europe

Time to look at the Euro Zone again (and I'm afraid this isn't optimistic):

There's Only One Way Forward For Europe, And This Isn’t It - Business Insider: "The only way forward for the EU and the Eurozone is to let the weaker members (think PIIGS) leave, and to let them do that with grace, respect and dignity. Anything else is not just doomed to fail, it's doomed to incite violence. Europe has a long history, and it doesn't take much to evoke lots of that, any and all of that. . . . The EU must, make that capital MUST, not just allow, but facilitate for its weaker members to leave the eurozone. If it doesn't do that, it calls upon itself the wrath of the gods (Europe has lots of those)."

But here's the problem (and it is a killer problem):

"As per Draghi and Merkel and Monti et al., they have no plans for that kind of facilitating. Not because they like the Greeks so much, but because their banks would need to - at least partially - come clean; derivatives, don't you know. And those banks are far worse off and much more broke than anyone has been allowed to know. Unless a sufficiently large number of us wake up in time, as in right now, people will be shot to death in the streets of Athens and Barcelona just so the banks can continue to hide their losses. Is that the kind of world you want to live in? . . ."  Read more: http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/theres-only-one-way-forward-for-europe-and-this-isnt-it.html#ixzz27oyESgUs


Friday, October 12, 2012

Christians flee Egypt town after death threats

After all the anguish and gnashing of teeth, killings, riots, and mayhem, over some obscure YouTube video, the unassailable fact is that Muslim countries are the most religiously intolerant in the world--

Christians 'flee Egypt town after death threats' - FRANCE 24: "Officials at the local church informed the authorities of the threats, but no action was taken, they added. Days later, a shop belonging to one of the families was fired on with automatic rifles, witnesses said. The events prompted the families to leave Rafah but there were conflicting accounts over whether they had done so voluntarily or been evicted. "The families have left Rafah and gone to El-Arish," one official said on condition of anonymity. . . .  Father Mikhail Antoine of El-Arish church told AFP "the families moved voluntarily because they feared for their lives after the threats." He said the Coptic population of North Sinai numbered 5,000 to 6,000, adding that around seven Coptic families had been living in Rafah before the move. Copts have been nervous since Islamists came to power following an uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year. . ."

Muslims in Bangladesh torch Buddhist temples over Facebook image - latimes.com: "Hundreds of angry Muslims in southeast Bangladesh torched at least 10 Buddhist temples and dozens of homes Sunday after alleging that a Buddhist man insulted Islam on his Facebook page, authorities said. . . . "


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Air Force mini-shuttle X-37B

Air Force mini-shuttle X-37B operations may move to Space Coast: The U.S. Air Force is thinking about consolidating mysterious mini-shuttle operations at Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the service said today (9/27). 

This is kind of interesting--and has ramifications far beyond its current reported mission.

Boeing X-37 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle is a reusable robotic spaceplane. It is a 120%-scale derivative of the Boeing X-40,[5] measuring over 29 feet (8.8 m) in length, and features two angled tail fins.[3][26] The X-37 launches atop an Atlas V version 501 rocket with a Centaur second stage.[19][3] The X-37 is designed to operate in a velocity range of up to Mach 25 upon its reentry"


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shiller Data Questions Housing Revival

Don't pay any attention to the mainstream media baloney about a housing recovery--

Shiller Data Questions Housing Revival Power: Cutting Research - Bloomberg: "The upshot for Shiller and his colleagues is that while “a recovery may be plausible, and home prices have been rising fairly strongly in recent months, we do not see any unambiguous indication in our expectations data of sharp upward turning point in demand for housing that some observers, and media accounts, have suggested.” Shiller’s views carry weight: He forecast the end of the Internet bubble in his 2000 book “Irrational Exuberance.” He said in a second edition in 2005 that the U.S. housing market had undergone the biggest speculative boom in U.S. history. The Arthur M. Okun professor at Yale, he’s based in New Haven, Connecticut, while Case is professor emeritus at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Thompson is an economist at McGraw-Hill Construction in Boston."


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Obama's Deficit Budget

New York Times Interactive on Obama Deficit Budget

Worth a Second Look:

Obama's Deficit Budget - Four Ways to Slice Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal
Explore every nook and cranny of President Obama’s federal budget proposal.
Chart shows $3.7 trillion authorized to be spent in 2013. (Total spending is estimated to be $3.8 trillion, including funds authorized in other years). Negative budget authority, which results from fees or other collections, is shown only on the department totals tab, but is included in other totals.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Where Are The Jobs?

Where are the jobs? Forget about the "unemployment rate" and instead look at the employment-population ratio--

Paul Krugman in the New York Times explains:
" . . . the unemployment rate is a problematic measure, because it can fall not because more people are working but simply because fewer people are looking for work. . . An alternative is therefore to count employment rather than unemployment; one simple measure is the employment-population ratio, which suggests no improvement for years:
Info source: St. Louis Fed and Paul Krugman/NYTimes.com

In other words, there has been no improvement in actual "employment" since we hit bottom in 2009!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

French Beekeepers find the cause of their bees' green and blue honey

Get Adobe Flash player
Beekeepers in northeastern France have been alarmed to find their bees producing honey in unnatural shades of green and blue.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bond 50th Anniversary

James Bond celebrates 50 years on the big screen | Metro.co.uk: "To mark the milestone a new documentary called Everything or Nothing is out in cinemas today, which looks at the real story behind the James Bond film franchise and the many setbacks which threatened to derail the movies.Long-time Bond producer Michael G Wilson told Reuters: 'We've been through two bankruptcies of the studio, and we've been through various attacks by competing series so we've had our ups and downs."


Friday, October 5, 2012

Biden: Middle Class Buried for Last 4 Years (video)

Biden: Middle Class 'Buried' for Last 4 Years
In a campaign speech, Vice President Joe Biden says the middle class has been 'buried' for the last four years, comments the Republican party jumped on and used to criticize the Obama administration.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Counter View: Obama won the Debate

Oh I know, all the pundits and "flash polls" say Romney won the debate. However, I watched the "whole thing" and it was clear before, during, and after the debate that Romney's math still doesn't "add up." Forget the style, forget the "spin," forget the debate "points." At the end of the night, Romney's statements (though they may sound "good" in the moment) are not credible--his math doesn't "add up."  Even Paul Ryan dodged the question from Fox News' Chris Wallace when asked Sunday how the Romney math "added up."  The longer this goes on, the more it seems Romney-Ryan are trying to "con" the American people. Five more weeks to election day is a LONG time for their con game to continue. Even the media (who now apparently want a "close election"), will eventually press Romney-Ryan for an answer or begin to expose their fraud. In the meantime, only the gullible will believe the Romney-Ryan plan. Over the next few days, bloggers and other media  pundits will expose Romney's statements of last night for their lack of "substance."

As for President Obama, no damage done. His "likability" is intact, he made his points and appeared calm and "Presidential" (even if a bit "weary" of Romney's political game-playing). Obama played it right last night--he played it to win the election in November and not just one night in October.

That said, I will say that Romney opened the door last night for Joe Biden to be "unchained." I wouldn't be surprised to see "fireworks" when Biden and Ryan meet for the Vice Presidential debate next Thursday, October 11th. Joe Biden (unlike Obama) doesn't have to appear "likable" and the Democratic Party base now wants "blood." Joe's been around Washington a while. He's seen guys like "Paul Ryan" come and go. He knows the stuff Romney-Ryan are trying to sell is BS. Ryan may not even see it coming.


3 minute debate prep

Here's all the debate prep you need--first 3 minutes of the above video. Sad thing is, Romney Campaign probably hasn't watched it!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I looked at Drudge's report of the "Cable News Race" (see below) and thought to myself: who watches ANY of this crap? (With apologies to Colbert, Stewart, and Scarborough.) Personally, I AVOID news via television excepting Bloomberg which I watch online. TV news, for the most part, is a joke and waste of time. But I guess if you're old or confined to a wheelchair, hospital bed, or prison dormitory, it is something "to do."


FOXNEWS FIVE 1,960,000
FOXNEWS SHEP 1,857,000
CMDY COLBERT 1,295,000
MSNBC MADDOW 1,284,000
CNN PIERS 670,000
CNN COOPER 477,000"


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Presidential Race Update

Hey it's not just me that thinks this thing is over--

This Presidential Race Should Never Have Been This Close | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone: "The press everywhere is buzzing this week with premature obituaries of the Romney campaign. New polls are out suggesting that Mitt Romney's electoral path to the presidency is all but blocked. Unless someone snags an iPhone video of Obama taking a leak on Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye, or stealing pain meds from a Tampa retiree and sharing them with a bunch of Japanese carmakers, the game looks pretty much up – Obama's widening leads in three battleground states, Virginia, Ohio and Florida, seem to have sealed the deal. . . . wherever you rest on the ideological spectrum, you should be disappointed that Obama ultimately had to run against such an incompetent challenger."


Monday, October 1, 2012

Intelligence office says it got Libya attack wrong

Remember Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction?" American intelligence--an oxymoron--apparently has done it again--

Intelligence office says it got Libya attack wrong, not White House | McClatchy: "The unusual statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence appeared to have two goals: updating the public on the latest findings of the investigation into the assault, and shielding the White House from a political backlash over its original accounts. “In the immediate aftermath (of the assault), there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo,” spokesman Sean Turner said in the statement. “We provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly.” The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which coordinates and sets policies for the 16 other U.S. intelligence agencies, is led by retired Air Force Gen. James Clapper, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in August 2010. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the assault staged by scores of assault rifle- and rocket-propelled grenade-toting assailants on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States."

Why don't we just admit that American intelligence is incompetent and inept most of the time? It appears to be a systemic problem. It didn't take much intelligence to figure out the Libya attack on the anniversary of 9/11 had nothing to do with an obscure YouTube video. I would say, at the very least, somebody needs to be fired at "The Office of the Director of National Intelligence" for general incompetence, but of course, Obama never fires anyone.


The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects