Updated: 10/16/06; 10:44:10 PM.
David Sobotta's Radio Weblog
Thoughts on everything from corporations, society, technology, to the weather with some specific thoughts on Apple Computer and my last twenty years there

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's been ages since I dropped by my Radio Weblog.  I've gotten to the point where all my posts are at my Typepad Blog, View from the Mountain.  I'm approaching one thousand posts there, but I haven't run out of things to say yet.

Lots of things have changed since March.  I'm off doing a new project and no longer working full time with the Webmail folks.  I've gotten my NC Real Estate Broker's License.  We've bought a house in Swansboro, NC, and I've put up a website, coastalnc.org,  about the experience of finding our piece of paradise.

I absolutely love the weather down on the NC coast.  My preferred work outfit is shorts and Birkenstocks.

We're now trying to figure out the world of boating.  I'm sure that will lead to some interesting posts eventually.  I'm going to have to figure out a topic that I can discuss regularly here on my Radio Weblog.  Maybe it will be boating.

I'm also starting to have some success selling the large scale prints that I do with Epson 4000 printer.  I also have a website, sobotta.org,  dedicated to that and an on line catalog, Sunrise Mountain Photography.  My Applepeels blog about the  more interesting side of Apple Computer continues to be a huge success. I'm writing very few posts there these days but whenever I do write something it gets swarmed.  At one time this afternoon Feedburner had recorded 25 hits from around the world in just a couple of minutes.

Maybe it is fitting that I dropped by Radio today.  The painter came by this afternoon to do a few touch-ups on the all the work we had to do after our basement flooded.  That's when I wrote my last post at Radio.   I guess we're back to normal in the basement office except for a few boxes that have yet to be unpacked.

Perhaps I get back to regularly writing something here so I better understand the technology.

10:42:56 PM    comment []

Monday, March 27, 2006

Talk about an interesting day. I came downstairs to take a picture of the sunrise and the floating wooden floor in our exercise room was actually floating on water. I turned the main shut off valve when stopped the problem temporarily.   After getting plumbers here less than an hour after calling them, it was determined that a copper pipe that ran through our brick wall to the outside and been corroded by the moisture around where it went through the wall.

The pipe is now replaced, and water is running through our pipes once again to its appointed destinations. I'm now just waiting for the insurance company before I start pulling up carpet and flooring so things can dry out.

Ah the joys of owning a house. Fortunately where I work, Webmail.us, is pretty flexible so I was able to stay home and handle the crisis.

That's one of the great things about technology, you can get your job done from almost anywhere these days if you're in information techology. It's one of the strengths of our country, and how our company Webmail.us turns hosted email into a great solution for many businesses.

1:39:07 PM    comment []

Saturday, February 4, 2006

The weather continues to be strange.  Yesterday, February 3, it was 66 degrees Fahrenheit. 

We been told that we're headed back to a little taste of winter, so today the cooler air moved in and clashed with the warmer air that has been keeping our heating bills down since just after the holidays.

I've been trying out Apple's new iLife 06 so I took the opportunity to capture some thunder and birds singing the rain.  I ran it through iMovie HD and posted it to my Mac dot com account using iWeb.

This is the link to my February 06 Thurderstorm with our Bird Feeder Gang singing in the rain.

8:47:06 PM    comment []

Saturday, January 14, 2006

After I went to trouble a few months ago of installing DSL as a backup to my cable modem, the service from the cable modem company, appears to have improved. It's been at least three or four weeks since I've had to switch over because of problems.

Still if the United States is going to remain competitive technologically, it's time for our government to figure how to get more bandwidth to the people.  Many countries are wiring their populations and will soon surpass us in being connected a connected society.

Ultra fast networking to the people would be a lot better use of resources than some of the boondoogles we continually see in government.

11:56:56 AM    comment []

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I really believe that we are facing a serious problem with the poor quality of the high speed internet being delivered to many consumers.

If we're to have an information driven economy, we cannot afford to let other countries have better wired consumers.

Maybe new technologies will fix the problem, but right now there is definitely a challenge facing those of us that depend on bandwidth to get our jobs done.

9:25:00 PM    comment []

Originally posted November 22- e-mail post failed

As I have reported on some of my other blogs, this morning Typepad is down. When a tool becomes part of your routine and then breaks, it causes some consternation. I know that Typepad has been undergoing some serious growing pains. Yet having the system down so that we're unable to access our blogs to edit, create new ones, or view our statistics is disconcerting. I was very close to closing some of my other accounts and going strictly with Typepad. I'll now hold off on that decision and perhaps even more seriously examine some alternatives.

Each system that I have been using, Radioland, Bubbler, Blogger, and Typepad have features that I like. All are getting better in feature sets, but Typepad seemed to have the right mix for me, but I have to have dependable service if I'm going to seriously use this medium. Having system that is inaccessible for hours without notice is clearly unacceptable.

Based on those performance issues, I'll likely be posting more at my other blogs including here.

9:22:00 PM    comment []

As I have reported on some of my other blogs, this morning Typepad is down. When a tool becomes part of your routine and then breaks, it causes some consternation. I know that Typepad has been undergoing some serious growing pains. Yet having the system down so that we're unable to access our blogs to edit, create new ones, or view our statistics is disconcerting. I was very close to closing some of my other accounts and going strictly with Typepad. I'll now hold off on that decision and perhaps even more seriously examine some alternatives.

Each system that I have been using, Radioland, Bubbler, Blogger, and Typepad have features that I like. All are getting better in feature sets, but Typepad seemed to have the right mix for me, but I have to have dependable service if I'm going to seriously use this medium. Having system that is inaccessible for hours without notice is clearly unacceptable.

Based on those performance issues, I'll likely be posting more at my other blogs including here.
9:13:23 PM    comment []

The web world lives on bandwidth.  I'm beginning to believe that the pipes that we have to our homes just are sufficient these days.  It seems like I'm always waiting for something to refresh.  It's a shame to other countries do a better job of wiring their population.

9:13:22 PM    comment []

Monday, September 26, 2005

Today I learned about a couple more loyal Apple employees being shown the door. As has become the custom at Apple, how you do your job isn't really what matters. What is of key importance is telling people what they want to hear. That's really a sad commentary on the corporate culture. It's been going on for several years at Apple, and of course it happens at other companies, but Apple seems to be especially adept at creating an environment where only good news reaches the inner circle.

If you get on the wrong side of some of Apple's powerful folks, your time at Apple will be limited no matter how well you do your job. Of course that happens everywhere.

Now there's lots of good news on iPods, but I can't imagine the news in the server world is very good. I would assume Apple did well in cpu sales during back to school, but I'm willing to bet that aside from iPod sales growing, that Apple's federal market has grown only minimally this year. I know that they have lost one big opportunity and I certainly haven't heard of any new successes in federal.

Limited success in federal for Apple could come from sales of Xraids. Yet I would doubt that the Xraids would make up for the normal end of year burst of high end cpu sales that Apple typically got from their federal research customers. I doubt that happened this year since there were no new high end Apple systems for the federal year end.
4:30:48 PM    comment []

This was actually written August 16 and was another e-mail post that didn't work. ______________________________________________________________

It's been a while since I've wandered over to my Radio Weblog, but I'm finding more and more that keeping multiple sites up just to check on the technologies may be more than one person can accomplish. Since I wrote the last post we have been through a lot of heat and are on track to have one of our hottest August's ever.

Our hillside got a great rain last week, but with the temperature in the nineties every day, we need more than one rain storm to keep things growing. The skies are rumbling now so maybe we will get something.

We got home late last night from a quick visit to North Carolina and our youngest daughter. Our dinner was in an interesting little place in Cornelius, NC. I will likely write a post about it on View from the mountain when I get time.
10:17:55 AM    comment []

Friday, September 23, 2005

We're now to September 23rd and summer for all intents is still here. It's warm during the days, and after a quick break of only view days, the humidity has returned. That's means no sunrises in the morning, and sleeping with doors and windows closed at night.

I think it was in the upper eighties today, but I never checked. It's very dry. I watered the yard for about an hour this evening. We have lots of bluegrass in our yard and it doesn't take to dry weather very well.

The one good thing is our tomato plants are doing exceptionally well. We've picked over fifty tomatoes off of our six plants in just the last two weeks. We'll have tomatoes into October. The really stange thing is that they are some of the best ones we've had this year.

There's is one thing you can be sure of when you are growing things. It's very hard to predict how a growing season will turn out. We do need rain before the leaves really get serious about falling or we're going to a huge risk of forest fires here in southwest Virginia.
8:25:34 PM    comment []

Friday, July 15, 2005

We're stuck in some rotten tropical weather.  We've had a thunderstorm last night at mid-night and three or four storms already today.  I guess the grass will just keep growing since it's wet,  and I hear thunder once again.  I love summer, but I need sunshine and we've been way short of it.  That means the tomatoes aren't riping like usual, and we'll soon start seeing mushrooms in the grass.

Apple reported astonishing earning this week.  The iPod has been an outstanding ride for Apple, but I'm not sure that they have the next thing nailed down.  There's plenty of innovation at Apple, but often the implementation or the customer facing side of the company short circuits what could be.  Because the iPod is a consumer product that's not a big problem in that space. 

I'm doing a dual install of Tiger and Ubuntu Linux on my Powerbook, we'll see how that goes.  Maybe that's all I need, but more and more I think I need a Windows laptop for work and let my Macs just do my creative work.  For one thing there is some connectivity that I could use wandering around DC that doesn't work realiably with Macs.  Then's there the whole scheduling thing which seems to live in the world of Windows.

We'll see how this install of Tiger goes.

5:39:27 PM    comment []

Summer still hasn't really gotten here. We're stuck in cool weather with not very much moisture. Yesterday we went up to Ronceverte, WV to visit my high school Latin teacher. He lives in a beautiful old house in a fairly dreary West Virginia town that has seen better days. I wanted Glenda to meet Mr. Humphreys because of the great impact he has had on my life. I wanted her to see the house because of the interesting decorating and the beautiful furnishings. I think she was especially impressed with the window treatments. It is a treat to spend time with someone as intelligent as Mr. Humphreys. He lives in a completely non-computer world. Yet he manages to be on top of the important things happening in the world. He still maintains his unique perspective which always brings a smile to my face. Long live the Queen.
5:29:38 PM    comment []

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Fortunately I got the yard mowed yesterday before the showers came in last night. We could actually use a good soaking rain, but it doesn't appear we are going to have one. The dark grey clouds are beginning to like and things are becoming lighter. Even the Walnut trees now have a vigorous growth of new leaves. Glenda has just contracted someone to finish off our bamboo which she and I tried to cut down a couple of weeks ago. Based on the burning sensation on my arms and swollen eyes, I think I will stay out of the bamboo. The newly planted tomato plants are doing well. They're likely doing better than me since I have been awake since 3:45 because I couldn't sleep. We have plans to catch an early after movie this afternoon so the blogging won't get too intense today.
4:18:25 PM    comment []

Friday, March 25, 2005

There is a good article today on the Apple and trade secrets issue today in the Boston Herald, "Student will teach Apple: Settle? Lawyer thinks different."

Apple is suing Ciarelli, founder of the Web site ThinkSecret, insisting he reveal his sources for the story. Gross said his client was exercising his First Amendment rights as an online journalist.
``He didn't steal, he didn't break into computers,'' said Gross, who has filed motions to dismiss Apple's suit. ``Apple just wants to intimidate people and control the news.''

To me that about sums it up unfortunately. Hopefully this will get settled before this actually knocks a hole in Apple's shiny image.

5:58:10 PM    comment []

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Once again the Apple law suits against the rumor web sites are in the news.  The NY Times ran an article today, March 24, "Apple's Legal Drive to Stifle Web Sites Is Fruitless So Far."

Probably the most interesting comment in the article was about the so-called trade secrets.

Mr. Ciarelli's attorney, Terry Gross, of Gross & Belsky in San Francisco, said that Apple's attorney had refused to identify the specific trade secrets contained in articles published on the Think Secret Web site.

Of course that is to be expected since this whole issues isn't about real secrets, it's about maintaining the Apple buzz and keeping employees in line.  For more detailed information check out my ApplePeels blog.

4:47:20 PM    comment []

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Our society is in a challenging period.  Many individuals are overwhelmed by the complexity of our society.  Politicians are all but permanently elected.  Companies present one image to the world and a very different one to their employees.  It almost looks like our choices are to be limited to being between a hard place and a rock.

Fortunately we are very resillient creatures.  I read this morning that the number of small farms have stabilized over the last view years. Maybe we will continue to have a choice besides factory farms.  Even our local Kroger carries organic produce these days.  Even as Apple casts a cloud over publishing on the web, people like Dan Gillmor stand up for the rights of those speaking out on the web in articles like his "The Gathering Storms Over Speech."

Even more encouraging people are not buying every story the government throws at them on Social Security.

I don't have any pretensions that my musings on the web are going to turn the tide for individual rights.  I do believe that my voice as one of many can make a difference.  It certainly makes a difference to my mental health.

I like many others have seen the darkside of corporations and worry that our government is moving farther and farther away from caring about the needs of individuals.  I do not believe that making money has to be tied to being nasty to those that work for you.  Most people are willing to give their loyalty to companies for the opportunity to work hard.  Unfortunately some corporations are willing to take your hard work, amass billions of dollars and show you the door at the first excuse to hire someone cheaper and likely younger.  Nor do I believe that the richest country in the world cannot afford a decent minimum wages, healthcare for all, and a decent retirement for those who have survived the vagaries of a changing world.

As our government keeps trying to convince us to work longer, someone has to start making certain that corporations are fairly treating older employees.  I am not certain that our current government with their cosy relationship with large corporations actually has my best interests in mind.  Certainly some of their investigative efforts have been a little less than ethusiastic.

My hope is that the open communication enabled by weblogs will eventually lead to a new openess with corporations and government.  We pay for government with our taxes and for corporations when we buy their products.  It would be nice to know that the people that produce the products get a fair share of our dollars and at the same time that our government dollars are used for something more than re-electing incumbents.

More of my thoughts on politics and society at my political weblog Just my Politics. 

For a particularly in depth view of one corporation, check out Apple Peels.

For lots of my thoughts on everthing, visit my main blog View from the Mountain.

2:02:19 PM    comment []

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Today we live in a society that seems to value individualism beyond family and friends. Maybe it is only in recent history that so many have become so rich that they really can buy everything they need without depending on relationships to get things done. Everything now has a price on it, but as anyone with some wisdom will tell you, sometimes money will not buy everything you need.

The question is if you pay for everything and everyone is out to make as much money as possible, do you really end up with value to each person in each transaction? I can hire someone to paint my house. Most people know that the higher priced painter is not necessarily the one who will deliver the best paint job.

If I have a relationship where I appreciate what the painter is doing for me and respect his work, will I get a better paint job?

Of course this is almost impossible to answer, but I know from years of experience that if I can build a relationship with the people providing products and services to me that most likely we both end up winning in the end. I ended up helping our last painter and just maybe we both got a little more than we bargained for when the deal was made.

If the only value exchanged in a transaction is money then I am trying to get the most for my money and the provider of the product or services will depending on his character provide what we have agreed upon, less, or more. I think that is why we all hate to shop for cars because there is a dance required and each person getting fair value is a gamble.

If we truly face a labor shortage in the years after we baby boomers start retiring, then will money alone get the job done when it comes to services.

As many people who live in rural or even many urban areas will already tell you, the promise of money often does not guarantee service. I can well remember having to resort to finding a plumber who was vaguely related to us in order to get a leaking pipe fixed in our home town of Mount Airy.

When the weather became bad while my mother was in an assisted living home, the only people willing to show up were family.

While knowing someone may not be a guarantee of better service or products it is a better way of living.

Depending on money to solve everything ends up building a life that is hollow. While your existence may be comfortable, there will be one day money will not be enough.

Relationships bring a renewed sense of belonging and by their nature you get as much as you give in any relationship. Helping another person and leaving things around you a little better than you found them is far more rewarding than sitting on a pile of cash.

You can be successful as an individual and still exert a very positive pull on others. The value you get from making others part of your success as a individual far outweighs whatever extra monetary rewards you might receive by focusing only on yourself.

For more thoughts see my other weblog View From The Mountain

4:08:41 PM    comment []

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Corporation

"Today, it is a vivid, dramatic and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, the corporation is today's dominant institution. But history humbles dominant institutions. All have been crushed, belittled or absorbed into some new order. The corporation is unlikely to be the first to defy history."

Today it is not unusual for people to work sixty hours or more just to get their jobs done. Even as unemployment rates in many areas get to historic lows, there seems to more and more power for the employer and less for the employee.

While I recently read about a number of corporations working together to set up healthcare plans for temporary and part time employees, I know from experience this is just another way for companies to bind their employees to them.

Your retirement savings, your healthcare, even how you are perceived become linked to the corporation where you work. As corporations feel the pressure of the global economy, the pressure to cut costs becomes intense because prices are almost impossible to raise.

While some corporations really try to make a great place for people to work until they are ready to retire, there are plenty of corporations that are very clever are ridding themselves of older, more experience and expensive employees.

Unfortunately many American corporations are so enthralled with short term gain that the loss of knowledge from their older workers is a price they are willing to pay if it saves some short term payroll dollars.

Many corporations have become so adept at using the law for their own ends that employees have few real rights. The "at will[per thou] employee contracts that are forced on employees literally let corporations do what they want.

As the top few people at some corporations become rich beyond belief, many workers are not rewarded fairly for their efforts.

It is clear that the government in the United States is unlikely to impose additional regulations on corporations to redress the imbalance in power between the rights of the individual and the power of the corporation.

It is imperative that we begin to debate how to reform corporate power to build a country where fairness to the individual is balanced with the need to compete in a global economy.

For more thoughts see my other weblog View From The Mountain

6:00:53 PM    comment []

Monday, January 24, 2005

Yesterday, I read in Parade Magazine that the network television stations now have approximately 52 minutes of commercials in the three hours of prime time television that run between eight and eleven pm each night.

That gives me an even better reason to put television in a background processing mode. In my case that means it might be happening but it certainly isn't taking up a lot of my cycles.

I am thankful that 802.11x was invented and that I have the means to own a laptop which can cover the time wasted in commercials and the vast quantity of useless programming that fills the television world.

This is obviously why what little television I watch seems so disjointed. You only get to see five to seven minutes before you have to endure another commercial.

Though for the first time in years, I have had the time to try to enjoy three or four new television shows. However, the absence of new episodes, the lack of consistent quality between episodes, and the overwhelming number of commercials is making the experiment less than successful.

It must be really hard to cram meaningful, memorable segments between commercials. The flow of the shows is absolutely destroyed by the commercial interruptions.

Well so much for my television experience, back to the laptop.
11:15:47 AM    comment []

© Copyright 2006 David Sobotta.
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