Friday, 15 January 2010

A Bit of Dew

So I was standing there at Wal-Mart yesterday and saw this case of Mountain Dew (Throwback). Its the old fashion stuff made with real sugar (as it was before the 1980s).

I am a Mountain Dew freak (after Pepsi).....so I was curious about the taste. The first soda was not that appealing....I was expecting the fancy taste. But you know....after three of these now....I'm actual starting to like the taste of real sugar.

Naturally, I'm from Bama and I'm curious a bit here. Is real sugar dangerous or hazardous to my health? Does real sugar trigger cancer? Does real sugar do terrible things to my body? It's funny.....I've actually gotten used to the fake stuff.

Could I stick with Throwback? Well....yeah, I could. Will they bring it back? I kinda doubt it but you know.....they actually brought this back for a limited edition and they might actually see some favorable reaction....and go national with the stuff again.

It's Your Government at Work

There is an interesting story over at The Hill today......on how the government is failing you.....because federal workers have better computers at home.....than at the office.

I sat and read this story.....coming from Peter Orszag.....who manages the Fed bureaucracy program for the President.

Pete says that people came to work twenty years ago and found fabulous hardware and software at work.....much better than what they had around the house. Pete says that's all changed now....and you....actually have the best equipment at home.

I sat and pondered this for a while....and then started laughing.

I had the responsibility of doing lifecycle for the Air Force for almost fifteen years. I had an organization of 150 folks, and an extended group of another 200 to worry about. I started to find about ten years ago.....that most folks didn't need workstations.....they just needed regular PC's....and then I found this massive cost effort started to rapidly decrease. A regular PC ran round $750 and a workstation ran around $1700. It was simple and easy to save everyone money. The speed, the capability, and the graphics.....virtually met every single requirement that customers could dream up. Oh yeah, and yes, there were the five or six guys who had huge needs for graphics ability.....so I spent the $1700 to buy them the workstation.

As time went by, I did the same thing with printers....eventually settling on a simple HP laserjet and spent barely $1100 a printer and started to get smart about color printer requirements (we really didn't need a dozen around the entire complex....we just needed five).

In the last year.....I actually got down to a $550 PC that had all the things that a guy needed.

This story here? It's bogus. What you've got are a bunch of folks blaming their woes on computers. What the government is hooking up for you.....is a massive computer program which some player out there (maybe Dell, maybe HP, maybe IBM).....is going to get this billion-dollar contract. Yep, they figured out how to squeeze the government at the right position and get more profit.

And if you wanted to have more fun with these guys.....ask them how many of their staffs are actually familiar with Excel? I'm willing to bet that barely thirty percent of most government offices know the full capability of Excel. Ask the same folks if they know how to build a web page of any simple design.....and watch their puzzled faces show. Basically.....they have a problem....but it's a training issue....not a computer issue.

Sometimes.....you'd really like to hope in competent people working for the government. And I still have that hope....but something is telling me it's mostly a fantasy.

GPS Heaven and Hell

I've been here almost ten days now. The first few hours upon arrival in Arlington....I got lost downtown and spent ninety minutes wandering in a circle. The next day, priority number one, I bought a GPS.

Over the past week, the GPS has proven it's value a thousand times over.

Yesterday, came the first hint of trouble. I had to drive up to the "Rock" (Rockville, MA) to visit my cousin. It's set to go for the shortest period of time to get to point "B", meaning it tends to use the interstate as much as possible.

This was to be a 39-minute trip. Barely ten minutes into this trip....I began to realize there were issues. The GPS wanted me to cross the river into 'sin city' (DC).....and I was to drive through the boonies of DC. Then I came to this point where Key Bridge is located and under renovation....and the GPS kept wanting me to cross when I couldn't. On and on, the GPS kept me wandering around west of DC, and finally into Maryland.

There, I discovered this massive traffic tie-up. So finally.....around 100 minutes into this 39-minute trip....I arrived at my destination.

I still regard the GPS as the greatest device of invention over the past thirty years. There is nothing that could strip away that title. I could go from coast to coast without a map and feel absolutely comfortable in knowing that I'd arrive. The only question is.....would I face a thousand road construction detour episodes?