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May 27, 2005
Google CEO on Microsoft Security

In an interview with "Information Week" Google CEO Eric Schmidt had this to say about Microsoft's latest push to increase security on their operating system.

InformationWeek: What about security? Have you been paying as much attention to security as, say Microsoft—you can debate whether or not they've been successful, but they've poured a lot of resources into it.

Schmidt: More people to a bad architecture does not necessarily make a more secure system. Why don't you define security so I can answer your question better?

Interview: Google CEO Eric Schmidt Talks Business Technology

Posted by Don at 05:58 PM
May 24, 2005
New Car for Barbie

Well, Barbie has a new car to drive around in. Our plan was to just look around at all the different cars on Saturday, then buy later. Her original intent was an Acura MDX, and after looking at the Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander, it looked as if the MDX was well on its way to winning. However, at our final stop, the Lexus dealer, we found a car/suv that we both absolutely loved. We actually almost walked out before test driving b/c of the price tag, but said what the heck, let's at least test drive it. The car was a Lexus RX330 fully loaded with the Thundercloud package...which basically means everything except a DVD player. The car has a peuter outside, with light grey leather highlighted with Black wood trimming, and also includes a Navigation system, which is completely awesome. We had a nav system in Germany, but this is a step beyond. Touch screen, and voice recognition. We can basically say "Mexican restaurants," and it will show us all the mexican restaurants in the area! Anyways, here are the specs:

- Leather-trimmed interior
- Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column with memory
- Illuminated entry system
- Power tilt-and-slide moonroof with one-touch open/close and sliding sunshade
- Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS) with High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps
- Roof rails/roof rack
- Lexus voice-activated DVD Navigation System [4] with backup camera [5] and Bluetooth® technology [6]
- Mark Levinson® [7] 11-speaker 210-watt [8] Premium Audio System with in-dash, single-feed, six-disc CD changer
- Exclusive Thundercloud Metallic exterior color options
- Exclusive black bird's-eye maple wood trim and light gray interior color combination
- Exclusive new five-spoke 18-in alloy wheels with contrasting ring
- New horizontal front-grille design inspired by the GX/LX
- Exclusive Thundercloud Edition badging on front doors and floor mats
- Premium Package
- Towing Package

And now the Pics...

Posted by Don at 11:02 PM
May 21, 2005
French Riviera

Two years had flown by and we were taking our final trip in Europe, so it had to be somewhere great. Since Barbie and I had always wanted to go to the French Riviera, aka Cote d'Azur, it was the most obvious choice. We took the early morning flight out on Wednesday (May 5th) to Nice, France, and then took a bus to Monaco. Monaco is a small country on the French coastline, and when I say small, I am talking about 300 acres or so. It is the second smallest country next to the Vatican in Italy. Anyways, Monaco is basically known for two things...Monte Carlo and if you are into car racing, the Monaco Grand Prix. Unfortunately, we were about a week to early for the Grand Prix, but we got to see them setting everything up. Wednesday morning we took a quick nap, and then went to lunch at Cafe Paris next to the Casino in Monte Carlo where Barbie was able to get her beloved Tarte aux fraise, which is a strawberry pastry for all you non-French speakers. Afterwards, we basically just walked around here and there seeing half of the entire country of Monaco in one afternoon, and ended up having a drink on the beach before dinner. We had planned on going to the Casino that night, and we thought I would need a tux (which I had brought), but someone told us that would be overkill, so we had to go and buy me a jacket, shirt and tie instead at a local shop. The outfit ended up being pretty sweet, so needless to say I was happy with the unexpected purchase opportunity.

That evening we went back to Cafe Paris for dinner and then to the Casino. Unfornutely the Casino was basically empty, and only offered Baccarat, which I don't know how to play, BlackJack and Roulette, both of which I do know. So we took our seat at the Roulette table, and after about 30 minutes we were up 5 euros, so we decided to cash out and head to another casino that had craps. This new casino was a little more lively, but only had 10 euro craps, so we didn't last long there before we hit our limit for the night. Either way, it was a good time and worth it.

The next morning we went for another walk towards the other side of Monaco around the boat docks to check out all the multimillion dollar yachts that had driven in for the Grand Prix the next week. One of these days it would be nice to be able to afford one of these boats, but for now I am just happy on any boat. Perhaps we can settle for an in between solution in the future and charter one of the boats with about 8 other people and cruise up and down the French Riviera...any takers?
Thursday afternoon we took the train back to Nice and immediately went to our hotel and checked in. After getting checked in, we went for a nice walk along the beach, followed by dinner and getting lost. It took about an hour to find our way back to the hotel, when it should have taken only 15 minutes! The reason is because our hotel was on a street called Gounod, which apparantely changes names about 2 blocks from the beach. Therefore, when we walked by and saw a street called Meringerbeer, how were we supposed to know it was actually Gounod? This seems to happen in a lot of cities, especially San Francisco. My question is why would a city planner do something like this? There is no logic behind it other than to mess with the tourists. So, if any of you have any thoughts on the logic behind this, let me know.

Well, back to the Nice story. Saturday morning rolled around, and we headed off to Cannes. For those that live under a rock, this is where the famous film festival is held every year (again a week after we leave!). This year it was location for the Star Wars premiere...so that would have been cool to see. Well, other than that, Cannes seemed to offer more beach than Monaco and Nice, but it really didn't seem to fit us. Perhaps that is because it was quite hot, and everything was about 3 times more expensive than it should be...and that says a lot when travelling with Barbie. :) We ended only spending the morning and afternoon in Cannes, and headed back to Nice for the evening. We decided on a somewhat early dinner since we were scuba diving the next morning, so not much to tell here. :)

Sunday morning we were up early and at the dive shop by 9am...yes, early takes on a different meaning when on vacation. We ended up doing one dive, and other than seeing an octupus and eel, it wasn't the most exciting dive I have ever had. It was the first time I have had to wear a thick wetsuit and hood, but that is what happens when you have only dove in Miami, Hawaii and Barbados. After the dive, we decided to walk back along the beach to our hotel, and I must say it was a gorgeous day. I have never seen water that blue in my life! It was just one of those things that you have to be there to appreciate. Of course, it would help if I had a picture to show you, but I am about to tell why that is not possible. After lunch, we took a tour ride on the 'Petite Train' which drives around old Nice, and up to the top of a hill where you can get a good view of the city. At the top of the hill I took a great pic of Barbie, then we got back in the train, went down the hill (about 10 minutes total time), and got off and walked to our hotel. I don't remember getting off the train with the camera, and neither does Barbie, so somewhere b/t taking a picture of Barbie on top of the hill, and getting off the train, our camera became lost. There was no where to put the camera down and leave it, so I don't think I left it anywhere. I think someone stole it, but I am taking the blame for it being lost. The hard part is that it had all of our Berlin pictures and the pictures from this trip on it. The camera you can replace, but not the pics of our last two trips in Europe. :( Needless to say the rest of the afternoon and evening was kind of a downer, but that is life.

Monday was beech day! Actually Nice doesn't have beeches with sand, but instead they are all covered in rocks, so you have a lot of private area with lounge chairs, umbrellas and of course some sort of bar and food. Another thing is that women are allowed to go topless. Barbie has become completely comfortable with this whole topless thing in the appropriate situation...so she was more than happy to get a tan with no tan lines. Well, there is not much more to say about beech day, other than we sat there and read and drank and ate while letting sun cause all sorts of wonderful cancer at the same time while darkening our skin. Barbie did make a good point about how times have changed though. Back in the day, someone with a tan meant you were a laborer b/c you had to be outside working all the time. Now, someone with a tan means you are wealthy enough to go outside and catch a tan while everyone else has to stay indoors and work.

Tuesday morning we headed back to good old Munich, thus ending our European travels for the time being. It's been a great ride though and I am amazed when I look at all the magnets I have collected from the various cities around Europe, and to think this all happened within a two year timeframe. Hopefully we can continue to travel in the USA, but of course with the price of housing in the Bay Area, that may not be a reality for a while.

Posted by Don at 05:04 PM
May 16, 2005
Where do you fit?

So, I just took this quiz that tries to define the type of person you are politically. According to the survey, I am an Enterpriser, which means the following:

Enterpriser
Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Enterpriser typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

Enterprisers represent 9 percent of the American public, and 10 percent of registered voters.

Basic Description
As in previous studies conducted in 1987, 1994 and 1999, this extremely partisan Republican group’s politics are driven by a belief in the free enterprise system and social values that reflect a conservative agenda. Enterprisers are also the strongest backers of an assertive foreign policy, which includes nearly unanimous support for the war in Iraq and strong support for such anti-terrorism efforts as the Patriot Act.

Defining Values
Assertive on foreign policy and patriotic; anti-regulation and pro-business; very little support for government help to the poor; strong belief that individuals are responsible for their own well being. Conservative on social issues such as gay marriage, but not much more religious than the nation as a whole. Very satisfied with personal financial situation.

Who They Are
Predominantly white (91%), male (76%) and financially well-off (62% have household incomes of at least $50,000, compared with 40% nationwide). Nearly half (46%) have a college degree, and 77% are married. Nearly a quarter (23%) are themselves military veterans. Only 10% are under age 30.

Lifestyle Notes
59% report having a gun in their homes; 53% trade stocks and bonds in the stock market, and 30% are small business owners – all of which are the highest percentages among typology groups. 48% attend church weekly; 36% attend bible study or prayer group meetings.

2004 Election
Bush 92%, Kerry 1%. Bush’s most reliable supporters (just 4% of Enterprisers did not vote)

Party ID
81% Republican, 18% Independent/No Preference, 1% Democrat (98% Rep/LeanRep)

Media Use
Enterprisers follow news about government and politics more closely than any other group, and exhibit the most knowledge about world affairs. The Fox News Channel is their primary source of news (46% cite it as a main source) followed by newspapers (42%) radio (31%) and the internet (26%).

Note: All descriptions and percentages are based on the national sample of adults surveyed by telephone in December. Based on your answers to the survey questions, you most closely resemble survey respondents within this group, even though you may differ significantly on one or more issues or traits.

In the overall typology there is a ninth group called “Bystanders” who are defined as adults who are not registered, who do not follow news about government and public affairs, and who say they rarely or never vote.

To take the quiz: Where do you fit?

Let me know what you are!

Posted by Don at 02:23 PM
May 13, 2005
Slap Your Co-Worker Day is Coming!!

Friday 13/05/05 is the official Slap Your Irritating Co-workers Day:

Do you have a co-worker who talks nonstop about nothing, working your last nerve with tedious and boring details that you don't give a damn about?
Do you have a co-worker who ALWAYS screws up stuff creating MORE work for you?
Do you have a co-worker who kisses so much arse, you can look in their mouth and see what your boss had for lunch?
Do you have a co-worker who is SOOO obnoxious, when he/she enters a room, everyone else clears it?

There are the rules you must follow:

  • You can only slap one person per hour - no more.
  • You can slap the same person again if they irritate you again in the same day.
  • You are allowed to hold someone down as other co-workers take their turns slapping the irritant.
  • No weapons are allowed...other than going upside somebody's head with a stapler or a hole-puncher.
  • CURSING IS MANDATORY! After you have slapped the recipient, your "assault" must be followed with something like "cause I'm sick of your stupid-a$$ always messing up stuff!"
  • If questioned by a supervisor [or police, if the supervisor is the irritant], you are allowed to LIE, LIE, LIE! Now, study the rules, break out your list of folks that you want to slap the living day lights out of and get to slapping.
Posted by Don at 02:10 PM
May 12, 2005
Berlin

Hi all, sorry for the delay in posts, but we've doing a ton of travelling, mixed together with catching up on work and trying to get things ready for our move back to the States. Anyways, here is our Berlin trip.

We arrived in Berlin on Saturday, April 30th, in the morning. Now, just to let you know, this trip was planned by me, which meant I was on the hook for finding flights, hotels, things to do, basically everything that Barbie thrives on doing normally...and I might add, does very well! So to make sure everything was perfect, we stayed at the Swissotel. This place was top notch, the only downside being we couldn't check in early. Therefore, we dropped our bags off and headed out to lunch. The first thing we noticed about Berlin was that people just dressed differently, and the average age seemed to be about late teens or early twenties. When you think of a person from Germany who dresses kinda funky (excluding ledhosen), this is what we were seeing. After lunch, and still not being able to check in, we headed to the Berlin Zoo. I don't remember, and neither did Barbie, the last time that either one of us had been to a Zoo. We saw all sorts of animals (elephants, bears, tigers, panthers, bobcats, chimps, gorillas, snakes, fish, etc.), but the coolest had to be the White Wolves and the Polar Bears. The wolves just looked like bigger versions of Kymba, and the Polar Bears are just sweet. They look innocent and fun, but are basically one of the meanest animals out there.

After the zoo, we headed back to the hotel and finally got checked in. Of course, it was then time for the standard afternoon nap...which is a must on vacations. After that, we headed to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, which is a museum dedicated to all those people who tried to escape East Berlin, or Communist controlled countries for that matter. The museum is located next to one of the famous checkpoints that separated the American side and East Berlin. A lot of history is in this museum, and it was actually opened while the wall was still up, and used as a headquarters for planning escapes. As you can tell, we had had a long day, and it was time for some dinner. We headed down the street to Bocca di Bacco, which is an Italian restaurant. Well, I ended up getting a Thuna Steak, and Barbie got a Filet, but thanks to the fact that Barbie wasn't that hungry, I ended up getting both for a great Surf and Turf meal! Ah...the joys of having a wife, although my weight scale and triathlon training are not to appreciative. :)

Sunday we awoke to another beautiful sunny day, and decided to do the City-Circle Bus Tour, which is basically one of those sightseeing tours on a bus where you can get on and off all day. The tour was cool with lots of info., and we got off here and there, but the best and most interesting stop was definitely the Brandenburger Tor (aka. The Brandenburg Gate). The gate itself is impressive, and represents the split in Berlin as the westerners could see it, but couldn't get to it b/c it was on the East Side. What made this place extra cool was an exhibit that showed pictures with great descriptions from the WW II. First it showed pictures of 4 cities that the Germans had absolutely leveled during the war, then it proceeded to show how Hitler came to power, and then it showed what Berlin looked like after the Allies had bombed it. I think it was something like only 15% of the buildings remained standing after the bombing. Anyways, the exhibit finished by showing the original 4 cities that had been bombed, and what they look like today, and how they have rebuilt. The exhibit was outside, so everyone could see it, but it was nice to see that it wasn't trying to just show you how badly Berlin was damaged, but instead showed you why Berlin had to be destroyed, ie. by showing the 4 other cities completely demolished.

After seeing all the sights, including a small portion of what still exists from the original Berlin Wall, we headed to Potsdamer Platz to catch a movie. I know most of you would say why see a movie while vacationing, but let's be honest, you get tired and don't want to see anything anymore, and a movie is a great way to relax without feeling cooped up in a hotel room. We ended up seeing "<a href="http://www.theinterpretermovie.com/" target="_blank"The Interpretor", which happened to fairly good. Finally, after all of this we had dinner and headed back to the hotel to call it a night, and Monday morning we flew back to Munich. All in all a cool city to see with tons of history, but I still prefer to live Munich.

I am sad to say we have no pictures from Berlin, as I lost our camera on our trip to Nice this past weekend before we had downloaded the pictures.

Posted by Don at 02:02 PM