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MacOSX tip – Share your Internet connection

apple_logo.jpg If you’re looking to share your Internet connection, the Mac has this nifty really easy Internet sharing function.
Basically you go to your Apple logo then to System Preferences. Select Share.
Here, there are multiple items that you can share. Internet Sharing is one of them. Select that. There will now be a few choices. Select the input for your Internet. This would be where you’re getting the Internet from (wireless, ethernet, etc). Then select where it’s going. You can’t have the same device doing both, so if you’re sharing a wifi connection then you have to share via bluetooth or ethernet or something.
Either way, when you’re done with actual device selections, just click Share. It will basically allow other people to piggyback onto your connection without you having to do much of anything. Personally, it’s a great feature that I’ve used when I’ve been wanting to work on multiple systems for IT work but didn’t have enough ports to share on the switch. This gave me a great way to create temporary shared connections without having to do a whole lot of configuration.

Stock market analysts should be weather forecasters

The Slippery Slope of the Stock Market

Image by Ergo Martini via Flickr

It’s an interesting thought but I’ve always found stock market analysts to be…. well, a lot of bunk for the market. Think about it. Basically, they’re using statistical trends to judge whether or not a corporation is going to do well or not. But based on their “call”, the stocks of that company can rise or fall even though there is much more to it than that. Don’t forget that the point isn’t if the corporation makes more money than the previous quarters. The point is if the corporation meets or exceeds the statistical projections of these analysts.
But here’s the crux of it. Even if you make money? Your stocks can still fall depending on whatever these people say even though they have no insight into how the corporations run or why the money is flowing more or less. Which is exactly like weather forecasters. People can’t control the weather, but they’d love to predict whether or not it’s going to have a severe storm coming along the way. Yet, most of the time they get the temperature decently (which is much like whether or not a corporation is going to do well or not) but never the actual precipitation rate (like the actual mark that XYZ company’s stock will hit).
The worst of this is, that based on stock market analysts “word”, we as investors buy or sell instead of going on corporate strategy, and how secure that corporation is in their industry. For example, take the current financial bailout for the US financial sector. Large corporations took a hit in their stocks because they needed to be bailed out by the government. But then when you took the money, you took another hit because analysts felt that if you’re not stable enough to work it out yourself, then you’re obviously in some dire straits. So it becomes a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario regardless of what the problem itself is and how to solve it.
Obviously, there isn’t much love here for stock analysts that throw out subjective opinions based on objective data. Having worked in statistical trends in the last decade or so, I personally feel that the stock market would be better off to let the numbers do the talking without all of the analysts. It’s one thing to hear them on CNBC, but it’s another to read about upgrades and downgrades based on…. well, yeah. I still haven’t figured out what those are based on.

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Movie Review: Tropic Thunder

I have to say that Ben Stiller obviously has some serious friends in the movie industry. The guy makes movies with cameos like nobody else and you probably see more actors and actresses in his films than anyone.
Ever since Tropic Thunder came out in the theater, I had wanted to see it. Mainly because the initial thought was that the character played by Robert Downey Jr. was so well done that it was amazing. I actually would forget that this was an actual white guy acting as a black guy. Absolutely hilarious. The part of Les Grossman, played by Tom Cruise, was actually pretty amusing too. You just don’t think of Tom Cruise when there’s a funny part of a movie mogul that’s cussing and throwing a fit.
Overall, this movie was a blast and totally funny. It spoofed so many different films and how different actors and actresses are portrayed along with the craziness that some of the acting industry require to star in films.
I would totally recommend buying or watching this film if you’re looking for a good laugh.

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Anime Review: Elfen Lied

Based on a manga series, Elfen Lied where basically mutant humans that are designated with some horns like cat ears and have transparent arms called “vectors”. These Diclonius, are supposedly what will bring the end of the world and thus condemned to being sub-human lab animals.
From here, one of them, Lucy, has a split personality and is found to be living with Kohta, a university student. The storyline itself shows the entwining of Kohta and Lucy’s past and why he can’t really remember what had happened to his father and sister. There are also a lot of societal themes such as animal cruelty, revenge, child abuse and other types of negatives of society. It basically shows that being human means making mistakes, but it also means that there are ways to find yourself through even the worst of things.
This anime was actually very interesting although it is definitely NOT for children at all considering the violent and societal themes along with nudity that roll throughout the series. The first seven minutes of the series at the beginning is supposed to be one of the most controversial since it has extreme violence and nudity and you’re basically thrown into it without understanding what’s going on at all. The plot really doesn’t develop until later, and I could see why it would throw some off if they saw these first minutes and didn’t continue to trek forward.
All in all, it was a great series as long as you could stomach the adult themes. I would definitely recommend it although good luck if you ever want to see it on television. This anime is bloody enough with enough nudity that I don’t believe you could actually watch it without censoring most of the series.

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda

No one ever likes being the kid that’s left out. Ever.
And this movie is totally about that particular kid and his dreams. Basically it’s a cute animation by Dreamworks SKG about a Panda that dreams about learning kung fu and fighting with the Furious Five. He has all of the action figures and is one of those dorky fans that knows everything but is still a nobody. Yet he is chosen to be the Dragon Warrior.
The Dragon Warrior is a person whom will defeat the main villain and save the land from … well, Tai Lung, whom was the Shifu’s prized pupil from long ago.
Crazy enough as it sounds, there are a lot of interesting little tidbits here that actually come straight from Chinese such as Oogway, in which is an old tortoise. It also is the literal meaning for turtle in Chinese. And so on, so forth. This was another one of those cute movies and I definitely would recommend Kung Fu Panda to anyone that has children or is looking for a fun animated film to watch.


gravatar.jpg Have been on WordPress 2.7 for a while now on one of the blogs I run and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how the heck there were some user profile pictures. I figured it was installed in the software somewhere, but didn’t see any documentation mentioning it.
So I asked a friend of mine if he knew of anything that I was missing. After all, I’ve been swamped with the crazy life of startups and my free time has been dedicated almost entirely to Merchant’s Mirror.
He replied:

gravatar.com – it’s a centralized avatar system

Dang, and I missed out on this? Automattic, the people behind WordPress had come out with a global avatar system that basically is queried from their servers and hashed out by email addresses. So that you basically don’t have to upload your picture everywhere you go.
Brilliant idea, although it is another bit of traffic for your blog to get hit with if the user pictures aren’t cached somewhere. Outside of that, it’s actually pretty smooth. I like the idea of it and it definitely plays well as far as I can tell. And now, I have pretty pictures I can set up all over the WordPress arena without having to upload separately. Nice.
UPDATE (3:20PM): Sorry about that. TD pointed out that Automattic didn’t come out with Gravatar. They acquired them.

Bailout Nation: Where do we stop?

No bailout for billionaires

Image by Public Citizen via Flickr

There are multiple parts to bailouts without letting corporations take the dive in the natural progression of corporate life and death. And it’s actually a nasty business. Think about it. As a taxpayer, you basically have no say in having to pay more taxes to “help” these corporations that were mismanaged to survive and keep on being mismanaged.
Life cycle
The life cycle of a corporation is based on how its managed and what profit margins it holds. Unfortunately, those that have been “bailed out” and the mismanagement of many of the financial and automobile sectors, you have to seriously wonder why these corporations are allowed to keep on going with the same management and not be entirely restructured. Yes, every single corporation in the sector is suffering the blow, but some not as bad as others. There are those in the automobile industry that are buckling down but not declaring bankruptcy. There are those banks that have cash reserves because they were scoffed at before in doing only normal loans within their means of lending but not are actually one of the stronger ones to hold out in these tough times. The point is that, regardless of how bad it’s getting, a corporation only lasts as long as it can survive. No one gives the mom and pop shop down the street “bailout” money when they can’t make the grade. So why should it be any different for large corporate structures?
Slippery Slope
We’ve already gone down the slippery slope. In a terrible way. First it was the banks. Then insurance companies jumped on board since they make their buck by investments. Now it’s the automobile industry. In world news, I’ve seen that DRAM makers are now looking for bailouts in Taiwan. Every industry is chipping in since they all have jobs to lose and profit margins that are getting cut. So where do you stop? When do you say no? The entire thing was a bad thought to begin with if you can’t define the stopping point and with the entire employment issue, it’s used as a crutch to get the money instead of fixing the problem of actually being an efficient corporate machine.
Unemployment is at its all time high in the United States, but in the same instance, there was a time that there was no such thing as a “bailout”. So far, there has been no technology “bailouts” and yet there are thousands of jobs being lost due to cost cutting. So the issue is that it ties directly to the slippery slope. If you (as government) falter to union pushes, then what about those of us that have contracts which don’t allow unions? Or the industries that haven’t taken a beating because we have to adjust with the market more quickly due to how our competition works worldwide? It just doesn’t fly well when you look at the slippery slope.
Let’s not forget. We as taxpayers have to pay for all of this. It’s not a reserve slush fund somewhere that the government has put away. Every single time we bailout an executive that has mismanaged their corporation without actual restructuring or even firing of the executives is one more time that we’re allowing the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer. Least anyone forgets, the middle class is the one that is getting laid off here and yet, their taxes are getting pushed up for these senior management types that are getting paid in well over the six figure range to continue to do the same things they have been doing. Don’t believe it? Take a look at AIG’s “retention payment” plans.
Where’s the education?
I’ve seen so many people in the media report about how the government is trying to “help” individuals that bought into the ARMs. Personally, I’d be curious as to if these people are actually buying into more than they can afford. I’ve heard some pretty nasty stories about individuals buying homes that they didn’t have the salary to afford or any assets to even settle. It’s the same issue as those people that drive sixty or seventy thousand dollar vehicles, but only make forty. It just makes no sense. The point here is to “live within your means.” If you’re not doing that, I don’t feel sorry for you and I have no sympathy. In fact, no one else should either. The government shouldn’t be extending lines of credit or telling banks to do so to these people. They should be extending education on how to manage your bills and pushing for people to only pay for what they can afford. There’s a reason why credit cards are tied to your FICO score. Education is a lot more important for those that are suffering from the ARM deals than extending credit since you’re just letting people put themselves in more jeopardy since they don’t understand and the rest of us pay for it.
In the end, the entire thing is a huge sick joke on the taxpayers, in my opinion. We’re bailing out big businesses so that they can continue to screw up, and more and more corporations are jumping on the bandwagon on how “bad off” they are. Those that don’t have homes anymore are crying out for help even though they technically could go back to renting like how everyone else started out. We don’t set examples or educate those that need the finance management educations and we allow senior management types to continue to pull outrageous salaries for running their businesses into the ground and taxpayers keep paying for these mistakes.
Throwing ourselves off the cliff?
The entire thing just seems like a giant slip-and-slide to economic ruin. And we’re just pumping more water on that baby hoping that it’ll slow us down instead of taking a hard look at solving the right problems with the correct solutions.

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When teachers spout the PR of Microsoft…

109px-Tux-G2.png It’s really a sad thing when you think about the educators that aren’t “educated”. I personally have battled with similar types of situations before with school officials that didn’t understand what open source meant.
“No software is free and spreading that misconception is harmful.”
What a misconception. If this middle school teacher bothered to even read the licensing on GPL and how linux works, then she would have known that there is plenty of free software out there. In fact, before there was even GPL or even linux itself, there was a software terminology written by those in the academics and eventually to computing hobbyists called “freeware”. Just like it sounds.
In this case, the only ignorant one here is that the educator who didn’t do her research before making herself look very bad to the thousands of people that read the Internet. A sad reality of being uninformed.
For those that don’t realize yet. Linux is open source.

Movie Review: Wall-E

Most Disney movies are just not my type of thing. I guess as you get older, you find that a lot of them get cheesier. But this one was right up my alley.
Wall-E was one of the few that actually had very little dialogue, and used more of the animation to bring out the emotions. When seen on Blu-ray, the quality of the animation was amazing and you go there all the joys and pains that the little Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class (Wall-E) goes through. And it’s actually interesting since after 700 years, I assume that it developed an AI by itself, although it’s never said.
Also noted, I loved the little robot: M-O (Microbe Obliterator). He’s so cute when he just gets annoyed that Wall-E is so filthy and chases Wall-E all over the place in an attempt to clean up after him.
Overall, this was a cute and fun movie for the entire family. Definitely recommended and if you can get it on HD then go for it. I personally would probably recommend it since you can also watch the quick little shorts that are in the extra and the animation is so crisp and clear that you just can’t tear yourself away.

Why bailout nation is bad and how AIG screws the taxpayer

aig_logo_tcm20-1620.gif This is the perfect reason why the entire financial bailout was wrong. No one else really has shown such blatant disregard for how much it ties the corporations to the taxpayer, but AIG commits the worst atrocities.
It seems that they’ve just renamed bonuses to “retention payments” and have said that this is required to keep the business running.
Having just recently heard from some friends about their corporate conditions and how many people are getting laid off just to be re-hired into contracting positions where the job stability is less sure, I can’t see anyone that’s taking emergency funding, to even joke about giving out bonuses. Or “retention payments”. I mean seriously. You’re lucky to have a job in these economic times.
Leadership teams should set by example. What makes me wonder about the AIG executives is that they’re borrowing money, and changing the wording, and then basically telling Congress that it’s business as usual. There’s only two things going on here. Either you’re sick, or your stupid. And for AIG’s sake, you better hope for sure that it’s the former, since the latter won’t fly when the taxpayers hear of it.