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Putting the Point in Pointless.

More of Jeramey's photos

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Are You Kidding Me?

Idaho Senator Larry Craig is doing his best "I'm John McCain and I've lost my mind" impression.
“At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions,” Mr. Craig said in the statement. “I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.
Then he goes on to plead guilty, and then later says he wouldn't have done that had he talked to a lawyer. Apparently there was a shortage of them on Capitol Hill?

Never does Larry actually say what he was doing tapping his right foot and sticking his hand into another man's stall. Did he need some more TP?

Larry, it's okay if you're gay. It's probably not okay to the people of Idaho that you're making it look like you're certifiably insane though.

In fact, now it just appears that you're some delusional liar.

Stop Hurting America

Originally uploaded by compujeramey
Attention Barack Obama, I have devised a strategy that will win you the election and it's pretty simple. You just have to talk in "plans" and not in "political babble". Be aggressive, create a plan for what you'll do in office issue by issue. Say something, not nothing for a change.

Flashback to my last night...

I sit in the George Webb on Farwell with a group of my friends. The group includes a kid who grew up in a trailer park, a 6-foot-5 African-American male raised in innercity Milwaukee, someone from the city of Madison (who just spent the summer in Vegas), another person from almost small town Wisconsin, a born and raised Mormon from Utah, a pot head from Akron, Ohio, myself, and my friend AK who has a Visa to study in the United States from India.

This is America.

We're all talking about this, that, and everything else during the course of eating our "delicious" food, and we stumble upon a topic only one of us knows anything about, immigration from the immigrants perspective. We ask AK how many years he can study here, and it appears as long as he enrolled in a university he can kick it in the big US of A for about as long as he wants. Asking him about being a citizen is another issue.

He starts to explain how he would have to get a H1-B Work Visa to replace his Student Visa and rock that for about five years, then he could get a Green Card and in another couple of...

Snap... my eyes roll back into my head along with the rest of the table. Everyone agreed it was about the most ridiculous thing they could think of. He could speak English, he's smart, and he's a hell of a lot nicer than a lot of Americans, why does he have to do so much for so long to be a citizen?

Jump forward back to the present.

Politicians talk about immigration a lot, especially Republicans. When they talk about immigrant they babble for a really long time and no one cares, but they give you an opportunity to think while they spew a monotonous river of words.

And the thought a lot of people get to is why is the process so hard? Why does it take so long? And, last but not least, I've lived here my whole life and I don't have the slightest clue what you have to know or do to become a citizen.

Then eventually the politican snaps you out of your daydreaming with the mention of "illegal" immigrant, which of course is the act by which you enter the country purely for the hope of a better life, support the economy, and people hate you for it.

People hate illegal immigration.


People hate the fact that the government can't figure out illegal immigration. They really hate the fact that politicians talk about it non-stop, but don't do anything about the issue.

Politicians state that the system is broken on this and nearly every other issue, but they don't have an actual plan to fix any of the issues. I can't go to Hillary Clinton's website and look up a four year, plain English ethanol strategy. All I can get from a politician today is if they support the issue or not, but what I want is what they will do about it.

Illegal immigration isn't the issue that is going to swing votes, it's the fact that no one has come up with an actual plan of attack that isn't a continuation of whatever we're already doing.

Any plan at all is better than what we have now (which is a fence that doesn't cover the entire border).

Here's the plan Barack.

You're going to have a multi-step plan. First, you're going set clear standards that are obtainable and acceptable by all for the barrier to becoming a citizen (English? Yes. 100 hours of community service? Genius). If the streets are going to be paved with gold let's put our newest citizens in charge of keeping them clean for the start of their life here, oh, and let's teach them skills while doing it.

Next, you're going to turn that fence into the front gate at Six Flags. If people want to walk through our turnstiles, let them. We'll be able to keep track of them just like we keep tracking of people getting off an airplane. Indians want to come here to work and live? Let them. Mexicans too? It's a party.

Next you'll explain how yes, this will create a huge influx of people to the United States, but, there is a huge upside. First, we'll know who is in this influx for a change. They'll take more ownership in their country. They'll pay taxes. And they're going to help pay for your new home.

That's right, the housing market is swirling in the toilet bowl right now. You suburban folk keep building new homes, leaving your old ones empty. Who is going to live in them? Immigrants!

What better way to fix a problem of too much housing then to go out there and collect a bunch of new people that want homes?

They'll want stuff for their house, so they'll buy it, and we'll collect taxes on it.

And that Barack, is a step-by-step plan.

Feel free to come up with more plans that eliminate problems. Dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico? Come up with a solution for that, it makes you look like you're ready to do something. Health care? Come up with a solution for that that isn't a continuation of the already broken system.

Rock the boat. America is ready for a politician that promotes drastic change. We've endured far too much recently of a moderate plan being introduced to only be beat down by the rest of Congress into being more moderate and not doing anything at all.

Start radical and who knows, Congress and the President might actually end up with a plan that actually improves the country for a change instead of staying the course.

Acer Buys Gateway

Gateway Poster
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
Acer has purchased Gateway for $710 million making it the third largest computer manufacturer in the world, passing what is now Lenovo an what was IBM and raising two questions.

1. Acer is still around? I think the last new Acer computer I saw ran Windows 98 in 1998.
2. Gateway isn't worth a billion dollars? YouTube was valued at almost two, and Gateway isn't worth one. Gateway has IP, they make stuff! They have 1,645 employees. If metal prices keep going up, I would imagine they'll have more than a billion dollars in metal just laying around.

How irrelevant have personal computer manufacturers become? What the hell went wrong? A billion dollars certainly is a lot of money, but not when you're making machines that do millions of transactions a second!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

New Yahoo! Mail

Crazy Fingers
Originally uploaded by fatmanwalking
I was all hyped up to get the new Yahoo Mail client that just came out of beta that integrates text-messaging, but no, I am not so lucky. I'm still stuck with the new beta one for up to the next six weeks according to the Yahoo blog.
Clarification that the new Yahoo! Mail will be rolled out globally over the next six weeks. You’ll know you have the new version because you’ll no longer see “beta” under the logo and you’ll find some helpful information within the product explaining the new features.
I wanted to start saving money now with free SMS, but that apparently isn't in the cards just yet.

Does anyone out there already have the new non-beta version on their account?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Rain In Milwaukee

Originally uploaded by nomadrhizome
It's raining yet again in Milwaukee, which is great because it has been pretty dry. There is a nasty downside and that's the discharges into the rivers and lakes.

There has to be some kind of non-billion dollar solution out there. Pervious parking lots (like the one at MSOE), inner-city wetlands like the ones constructed along Canal Street, or replacing black top with grass and gravel at public schools?

What can Milwaukee do as a community, not as a government bloated unit?

I like swimming in Lake Michigan, but I would imagine it is not too much fun after wastewater discharges.

Monday, August 20, 2007

12 Volt Battery Hack

Need extra batteries? Here is a sneaky way to get some.

12 Volt Battery Hack! You'll Be Surprised... - video powered by Metacafe

New Diet Coke Ad (99% Water)

Diet Coke Can
Originally uploaded by computerjoe
A new Diet Coke ad campaign will feature the fact that Diet Coke is in fact 99% water. Interesting.

They're already planning to change the recipe once the bottled water fad expires and go with "Diet Coke, now only 98% of the stuff that you can get for free at your house".

Mattel Getting "Standards"

The Handover
Originally uploaded by MarkyBon
Mattel is implementing "rigorous standards" after the wave of toy recalls. They're not bringing work out of China and back into the United States though (or a country with better labor standards).

Look for the problem to continue to repeat itself in one flavor or another for the next couple of years as long as companies continue to pump money into countries with few environmental and labor laws (or actual enforcement of those laws).

An Idea for the Democrats

If I'm a Democrat candidate for President, I might want to take this idea and run with it.
It would be even better if the government was required to pay fair wages to soldiers during war time — i.e., if combat pay was market-determined and soldiers could opt to leave whenever they wanted, like most jobs. If that were the case, the cost to the government would skyrocket and more accurately reflect the true costs of war, leading to a truer assessment of whether the benefits of military action outweigh the costs.
From a Freakonomics blog post on the idea of a draft.

Tony Snow Stepping Down

The Consummate Speaker
Originally uploaded by cbarnes1
Tony Snow is apparently concerned about not being able to make it on $170,000 a year. So concerned that he's going to quit his job as White House Press Secretary.

Did he not have any money from his time at Fox saved up for a dry spell? Can't he borrow some cash from Dick?

It appears the SS Bush Administration has certainly run aground. Everyone is jumping off.

WNBA Player Has Eye Fall Out of Sock

Originally uploaded by andyi
From the sick and true department of the WNBA, Chicago Sky forward Chasity Melvin had her eye pulled from the socket after Shameka Christon accidentally caught a few of her fingers on Melvin's eye.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Melinda and Melinda

Amanda Peet
Originally uploaded by webavatar24
I just watched the 2004 movie "Melinda and Melinda" for the first time. It has one of the more confusing plots I have ever seen because it keeps switching between two versions of a story.

I was overwhelmed at the start of the movie, but about halfway through I really started to get a good feel for all of the characters.

If you're interested in watching a movie and feel like you've seen everything else, check out Melinda and Melinda. It's nothing amazing, but it's decent and you'll get a few laughs out of it.

Living Green and How To Influence Your Friends

Havenwood State Forest
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
I was inspired by an article in Vital Source (a Milwaukee magazine) entitled "Green Is The New Black" to think about how I influence my friends and roommates to do environmentally friendly things. The article mentioned how Al Gore's "Live Earth" was a complete failure in terms of convincing people to live a green life and that got me to thinking.

I frequently tell my friends about environmental problems and improvements/solutions that are out there. Solutions that can be applied on a local level by my friends often fall on deaf ears. Sure they agree at the time, but nothing happens.

How does one change behavior? Whether it's buying pattern, recycling habits, or simply turning off unused devices, it can be a daunting proposition.

Lead by example. Buy a recycling bin that's easily accessible and recycle everything you can. Buy environmentally friendly products and point out when you do. Turn off your unused devices and point out to your friends that they could be saving money and the planet by unplugging things like your cellphone charger, turning fans off in rooms your night, and turning off your desktop computer at night.

Ride your bike to work (or for pleasure) and watch everyone else begin to join you. Walk don't drive. Pickup random garbage in the street.

Not only can you make this world a better place, but you can convince others to join you.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Fun With Zip Codes

If you're looking to render out how zip code numbers are assigned visually, this is the website for you.

Awesomely fun tool.

For Immediate Release (Milwaukee Brewers)

ASSOCIATED PRESS (Milwaukee, WI) - In response to two consecutive years of post All Star break collapses by both players and the collective team, Bud Selig today approved a petition from Doug Melvin to allow the Milwaukee Brewers to compete against Wisconsin American Legion teams during the 2008 All Star break. Taking on the Brewers in what is being referred to as the Mid-Wisconsin Classic will be the Eagle River Bears Legion #455, Madison Mallards, and Janesville Aces Legion #253.

Legion teams will be allowed six outs per inning unless a pitcher with a name ending in -pan -ano -bow -ero -eva is manning the mound. Batters with last names that are parts of the calendar will be allowed four strikes (i.e. "Weeks"). Eagle River player Gary Day is expected to have a breakout season because of the new rule.

All games will be held at Carson Park in Eau Claire, WI because of the need for a neutral playing field. The Brewers are heavy underdogs because of their road difficulties.

Facebook Chicago

Sears Tower
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
I'll be rocking it at a meeting in Chicago tomorrow. Give me a call if you want to get together somewhere in The Loop.

Brewer game at night, give me a call if you want to meet up there.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Marcus and Michael Vick

Marcus Vick Sets the Offense
Originally uploaded by kregger
Amongst all the insanity that is swirling around the Michael Vick trial, the most amusing aspect to me is that bad brother Marcus has been all-but completely forgotten.

Once billed as a prodigy, then as a bad apple in the Vick family tree, Marcus's legal troubles still look quite a bit worse to anyone, but a animal rights activist.

Michael Vick will ultimately emerge from this fiasco with some money still in his pocket. Marcus, who was recently waived by the Dolphins, isn't going to be so lucky. He has played a grand total of one NFL season, and never appears to have earned a penny from endorsements.

RasterWeb Turns 10

Originally uploaded by compujeramey
Pete just celebrated 10 years of blogging and I totally forgot to blog about it.

I've been blogging in one form or another for about six years now, so I'm a little behind. I need to catch up. I also need to dig up the old stuff I wrote when I was creating everything by hand in 2001/2002.

Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers: Job Opening

Milwaukee River
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
Friends of Milwaukee's Rivers, a great community organization, is looking for an Outreach Coordinator.
We are now hiring an Outreach Coordinator who will focus on engaging members and constituents in recreational and volunteer events, communicating FMR’s work through our newsletter and other media, and managing FMR’s office.
Learn more.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stop BP From Ruining Our Lake

Bret and Ken
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
British Petroleum wants to dump an increased amount of chemcials into Lake Michigan each day. The state of Indiana doesn't seem to really care, thankfully Dick Durbin, the Senator from the state of Illinois, is standing up for what's right.

Sign his petition to show your support for limiting the dumping by an out-of-control oil company.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Think Before You Speak

Bill Gates and Jay Z
Originally uploaded by niallkennedy
A funny tale of embarassment from Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics on how he was making fun of someone to the person's face without knowing. I've been there, you've probably been there, but the best part is how the comedian responds.


Originally uploaded by training_mag
Freakonomics only has partial RSS feeds now that it is with the New York Times and people are angry.

I'm one of them. If I don't like it, I'm unsubscribing and I'll make sure you're the first to know.

Pearl Jam Supports Net Neutrality

Originally uploaded by Erwin Thieme
Pearl Jam, after a recent censorship incident, has become a public figure in the growing fight to create a law securing Net Neutrality.

Awesome. Net Neutrality is the gateway to a greater society.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

In Janesville Tonight

Janesville at Night
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
I'll be in Janesville for the night, if anyone wants to kick it give me a call.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Serious Privacy Issues

Kal and Me
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
Privacy is rocketing up the list of things that are important to me. In fact the number one thing on my mind right now is the safety of my friends.

I live a wide-open life. I would like to think of myself as pioneering a new form of communication of one's self wherein a vast amount of "me" is available online via pictures, video, this blog, and various social networking profiles.

You can more or less trace nearly everything I have done or been involved in since 2003.

This accomplishes many things. First, it develops a track record of me for me, I can punch in a date and find out where I was, what I was thinking, and what I looked like thanks to various services. Second, it creates an open and audit-able "paper trail" for anyone that any question about who I really am and what I'm about. It sends many job offers my way. It allows those that I don't see often to keep up with me. It keeps me honest. Perhaps most importantly, it prevents me from having to tell many stories twice.

I would like to think my online track record makes me more employable and trust-worthy compared to my peers who do not have as extensive of an online footprint. The absolutely insane number of job offers I get via phone calls from my blog I think confirms this hypothesis.

There are some major drawbacks though. I have been a victim of stalkers since I was a senior in high school in late 2004. People call me, insult me, and invite me to weird events on a nearly daily basis. In fact, it has reached a level that when I was a victim of attempted robbery at gun point a couple months ago (my friends didn't get away so luckily) it felt just another day that strangers had invaded my life.

Another such drawback of living such a wide-open digital life is that it gives people a great sense that they know me when they haven't actually met me before. I honestly can no longer count the number of times I have been approached on the street or at a school where people have just started talking to me about something in my life like they're one of my best friends. I really appreciate people caring that much about my life, but you don't know what it is like to sit there when someone tells you about your personal views on life and you're trying to figure out who they are (or asking yourself "why did I blog that?").

You haven't lived until you've been approached by someone you don't know at an out-of-state gas station that says they recognize you from the internet. Thank you Illinois and displaced Bucks fans.

That hasn't been a true problem until recently though, when it turned from my views on Google and the Republican Party to my friends and how people want to hang out with them. There is a line in the sand and it has been crossed.

My friends are my friends, not those of random strangers. I had already been taking steps to protect the privacy of certain female friends of mine. This includes not revealing their full names, not geo-tagging photos in Flickr (like the one used for this post), and hiding completely innocent photos and stories from my readers about them for fear of them being harassed.

It's a shame, but I now will have to go to greater lengths.

I marked my first photos as private on Flickr today, meaning that all of my friends will now need accounts to get access to photos of themselves. This isn't a huge deal, but creates a problem when they want to share the photos with their friends. I'm not going to mark every photo as private, but if you think you're going to see photos of my friends hanging out with me going forward, guess again.

I'm going to start throwing dummy data on Flickr. Some of my more harassed friends will begin to have new names in an attempt to end random people from approaching me on the street and acting like we're old friends.

I will also not be geo-tagging any photos that weren't taken in public spaces (I was already to a great extent doing this).

This is my life, you're welcome to take a look at it and follow along. You're not welcome to harass me, my friends and family.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dark Day

Prince Batting
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
The sun just doesn't shine as brightly now that the Brewers aren't in first place.

Webb Alert

Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler
Originally uploaded by PooDicey
Morgan Webb now offers a video blog that rounds-up everything in the technology blogosphere in the past day called "Webb Alert".

Consider me subscribed.

Friends in Town

Sarah and Me
Originally uploaded by compujeramey
People are visiting from the East Coast until Monday so don't expect too much to appear here until Tuesday.