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JoeMaMaWiki

So I’ve installed my very own wiki. No real reason for it, so just have some fun, if you feel like it. But just keep it clean.

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Julia Kitty Photos

Pictures of the Week

I’ve just uploaded some more pictures. Sorry for skipping last week, we’ve been pretty busy lately.

1727 1807

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News

Spoiled Rich Kids

I ran across an article in the NYT describing excessive Sweet 16 parties. It’s from a few days back, but just reading it annoyed me.

Who in their right mind is going to spend $200k on a Sweet 16 party? As if to further divide the haves and have-nots, MTV is promoting this craziness.

One of the quotes from a father basically says he’s got the money, so why not do it? I’ll tell you why. If you give your daughter a Mercedes convertible and diamond jewelry for her sweet 16, what’s left for graduation? Or marriage? That’s already answered for us. For graduating high school, the older daughter got a Bentley, diamonds, and two homes in India. Was the older daughter surprised? Yeah, she was only expecting a Bentley and one home.

Who are these people? Clearly, they have no sense of the value of a dollar. Who gives a teenager a $165,000 car? Who spends $200,000 on a sweet 16 party? Why not do something sensible, like putting that money towards college?

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Gadgets

Cheap PCs

I saw that you can get a decent PC from Dell for cheap. It’s got 1GB ram, 160GB hard drive, DVD burner, and a 17″ LCD. All for $350, plus tax (at least in NC), and (presumably) shipping. If I needed a spare PC, I would definitely look at this.

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News

Gas Guzzling

So how much are you paying for gas now? Here in Greensboro, regular gas is hovering right around $3/gal. How much higher will it go? It’s hard to filter out the analysts that are trying to scare everyone and those that are trying to accurately predict where it’s going. I think we’ll see a lot of places hit $4/gal, especially if this hurricane season is active.

There has also been a lot of attention given to the oil companies making obscene amounts of money, especially ExxonMobil. And while they have earned a ton of money, their operating margin last year was 16%. For comparison, the operating margin for Google was nearly 33%, twice that of Exxon. Microsoft was 36% last year. Now I realize that I’m comapring tech companies to an oil company, but my point is that there are other companies out there with much larger profit margins. But no one fusses when Google reports huge jumps in earnings. All we are drawn to is the sheer amount of money oil companies are making.

Even with all this outrage, what solutions are out there? A “windfall” tax? Give me a break. What will that solve? Will it make gas prices decrease? No. It will just give Washington some extra pork money.

Gas prices are high because we use so much of it. Do you really think that we would be paying this much for gas if our vehicles averaged 40 mi/gal instead of 20 (or so) mi/gal? Of course not.
[tags]Gas Prices, ExxonMobil, profits[/tags]

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Random

reBlog Blog

I use reBlog as by [tag]RSS reader[/tag]. There aren’t too many sites I keep track of, only like 20-25. I like it because it’s set up on bastone.org, so I don’t have to worry about something going wrong with the other sites out there, like Bloglines or Netvibes.

One of the functions you can is publish items that interest you to a blog. I’ve done just that, publishing the articles I like here. I’ve also played around with the WordPress plugin, and the layout is a bit clunky. That blog is here.

Do you use an RSS reader? If so, what do you use?

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Julia Kitty Photos

Pictures of the Week

Here’s some of my favorite uploaded pictures from the past week.

1706 1646 1711

Enjoy!

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News

Immigration “Reform”

I’m just about sick of hearing all these people complain that we need immigration reform. The way I see it, Congress will not be able to reach any sort of compromise to do anything about it. And even if they do, it will be meaningless. I’m more interested in why this even became an issue in the first place. Could it be that Bush wanted this to become such a large issue, only to take attention away from himself?

There seem to be two sides of this argument: one that wants to build a huge wall across the southern border and keep everyone out, and those who want to offer some method of making illegal immigrants somehow legal. Both sides have fatal flaws. A huge wall will eventually be defeated, through either tunneling under it, climbing over it, hiding in a truck and being transported through it, or finding some other way around it. Making illegal immigrants legal doesn’t seem to offer any benefits either. What would they have to gain by fessing up that they are here illegally?

The two sides couldn’t be any more transparent either. The “huge wall” supporters are blaming all our problems on them, appealing to our security fears. The other side is clearly pandering to agri-business and the Hispanic population. Either side can bring out examples of people doing exactly what they say. So don’t bother with it. Anecdotal evidence doesn’t imply a trend.

As with all issues, I think a solution lies somewhere in the middle. One of the issues that has been discussed is that some illegal immigrants do not pay any taxes. Well, a way to fix that is to scrap the income tax in favor of a national sales tax or value added tax. Pay taxes on everything you buy. Illegal immigrants need to buy stuff here, right? So pay taxes that way. Just a thought.

So where do you stand on the issue? Round them up and ship them back? Or make them all legal? Of course, I would expect most people to be somewhere in the middle.

[tags]immigration reform, tax reform[/tags]

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Oblong Oreos

We have had a problem for much too long. When we are eating Oreo cookies, we dunk the cookie in milk. But when trying to shove that whole cookie in your mouth, some milk inevitably will get on the side of your mouth, creating quite the mess.

Kraft has solved our problems by introducing the Oblong Oreo. I say it’s about time. Anything that can make my dunking Oreos easier is fine by me. Sharon says otherwise. They have been making round Oreos forever, and we’ve been able to dunk them with no problems. There’s no need to mess around with tradition.

Time will tell if this works out. The new Oreos will be in stores in June and July. The success (or lack thereof) will determine if they are a permanent fixture or not.

[tags]Oblong Oreo, Oreo, Kraft, Cookie, Advertising[/tags]

Categories
Gadgets Photos

My Canon Powershot A700 Review

I have wanted a Canon Digital Rebel for a long time. I already have a Canon Rebel and an Olympus digital camera. But the Rebel takes film, and the Olympus is just old. I’ve had it for 3 or 4 years.

Since Julia was born, Sharon and I have been taking photographs like mad. The Olympus was too slow, ate batteries like candy, and only took mediocre pictures. The Rebel took much better pictures, but I paid for every pictures I took. We needed a new camera.

I tried to convince myself that I needed a Digital Rebel. The PMA, a huge photography trade show, was to be held at the end of February. I thought that a successor to the Digital Rebel XT would be announced, and I could get the XT on the cheap. Canon had other ideas, and announced a higher end model. I almost gt the Digital Rebel anyway.

I found the Canon Powershot A700 instead. It was only introduced in February, so I couldn’t find any reviews on it. So I took a chance on it anyway. I’m glad I did.

Pros:

  • Totally manual control – 1/2000″ to 15″, f/2.8-8.0, ISO 80-800, and manual focus
  • Huge LCD screen
  • Movie mode – with sound! It will do 640×480 at 30fps until you fill out the memory card
  • Good image sensor
  • 6x optical zoom (like 35-210mm)
  • Picture burst mode – it will take about 2 pictures a second for a while. I’ve taken 60-70 in a single burst before I stopped.

Cons:

  • Still a delay between pressing shutter and taking picture
  • 16MB SD card included – give me a break, that’s like 6 pictures at the highest settings
  • Autofocus could be better

So there you have it. For $300, you can get your hand on a very nice point and shoot digital camera with full manual control.

[tags]Canon Powershot A700, digital camera, review[/tags]