Friday, November 30, 2007

Buying products made in the U.S.A.

People often wonder how buy products made in the U.S.A. when we're bombarded with products made elsewhere and often in less than desirable conditions. Jim Hightower provided some web sites selling made in the U.S.A. in one of his commentaries:

I didn't verify that all of the products on the web sites are made in the USA, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Happy shopping!

And have a nice day.

Facebook Update

According to the BBC, Facebook backed off of its policy of reporting member purchases on other sites. Supposedly, Facebook wrote an apology letter to its members, but I never saw it. I'll need to evaluate Facebook's response on the BBC account. The story quotes Facebook saying in the phantom letter "We are really trying to provide you with new meaningful ways, like Beacon, to help you connect and share information with your friends."

Gosh, it would have been nice if Facebook had been honest: "We found a new way to make money but the backlash was more than we expected so now we're not making money that way."

But, at least they will stop reporting what your friend bought you for Christmas.

And have a nice day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007 takes on Facebook has started a petition against Facebook. Facebook has allegedly started displaying what members have purchased from other sites. calls it a privacy issue.

As you may recall, we had another privacy issue with Facebook earlier this year, where Facebook planned to let search engines search member information. It looks like if you want information privacy you should stay away from facebook.

Looks like it's time to sign a petition and close my facebook account. (or, at least, remove myself from certain groups ... like Minnesotans for Favre in '08)

And have a good day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kindle-ing Books

As many already know, Amazon announced the release of its portable reading device called Kindle. I think it is a great idea.

I know. I know. I'm usually more of a conservative or purist on these sorts of things. However, we're talking about reading books here. They're too cumbersome. Anyone who says otherwise isn't curling up with "Patton" or any of my college texts. And it seems like you either have time to read or to go to the gym; not both. My arms get tired. No, I'm glad that an improvement for books may be available.

The one concern I had about PRDs is readability. A computer screen is not a very readable surface. However, Kindle seems to have this covered and, they claim, it is more readable than paper.

It's pretty expensive, but the price will go down. The price of books has already gone down with most Kindle-ready books under $10.00. Compare that to my college texts? Give me Kindle. In fact, even as a part-time student, the product may very well pay for itself within a year (assuming my texts are already available on Kindle).

On the lighter side, there is one big hurdle for Kindle: the bookmark lobby. With PRDs, people would no longer need physical bookmarks. There's no way the bookmark lobby is going to like that and you can't do anything in Washington without approval from Big Bookmark. I see legislation getting in the way of Kindle right soon.

And have a good day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Album from Izzy Stradlin: Fire.

According to, an acoustic album from Izzy Stradlin called "Fire" has been released. Unfortunately, it is only available on iTunes.

I haven't yet heard it or even downloaded it, but the reviews have been good so far. Of course, the reviews have been from Izzy fans, so they are not unbiased. (registration required)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Groupthink and Diversity

Claudia Plaisted Fernandez had an article published recently in the Journal of Public Health Management Practice. The title is "Creating Thought Diversity: The Antidote to Group Think."

Again, diversity is promoted to prevent groupthink--this time through thought diversity. Fernandez gives us seven steps to thought diversity and, as rare as this has been so far, gives us a brief how-to for each step and even breaks one step down into 4 sub-steps. Previously, we had seen mostly lists of bumper sticker slogans but Fernandez goes a little detail. The article's only two pages long, so it's not very deep, but there is still depth to it.

It's a good 5-minute introduction to groupthink and thought diversity.

And have a good day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Baseball Rethinks Instant Replay

The general managers have decided it's okay for the powers the run the league to implement instant replay.

The GMs suggested it be limited to three scenarios: checking if home runs are fair or foul, making sure the ball didn't bounce over the fence for a home run, and fan interference.

My stance, as always, is no replay. While it is difficult to argue with the viewpoint of "if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right," my thought is why is it okay for players to make mistakes but the umpires can't? It's a game of humans for humans; let them be human. If nothing else, it's a reminder that it really is only a game.

What caught my eye, though, was Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams' quote: "It will be a lot easier and less to get that right than some of these arguments that ensue when a call is disputed." They're not taking the errors out of the game; they're taking the arguments with managers out of the game. No more managers kicking dirt on umpires for missing calls (well, some calls).

My stance on that? If the umpires are going to go higher tech, the managers should follow suit. That's why I'm working on a Facebook application that will allow people to "kick dirt" on other people. If an umpire misses a replay call, I'd suggest they stay away from their Facebook account for a few days.


And have a nice day.