category

Archive | News

Downtown San Jose. Transitional, going the right way?

We lived near downtown San Jose recently. It’s a weird mix of pricey new apartments, empty storefronts, and bars and restaurants servicing nearby San Jose State University. We’re back here on business. The downtown area, if anything, seems to be going a bit the wrong way. There are more vacant storefronts, a big independent movie theater shut down, and while some blocks have lots of perky students, other streets aren’t particularly safe late at night. A nearby park next to the Post Office is dangerous at night.

A downtown Walgreen’s almost always has homeless, drug dealers, and transients outside of it while two blocks away a large new apartment building features a 1,121 sq ft, 2 bdr 1 ba, corner unit for a mere $4,529 a month! A Ross Dress For Less closed and there is just one market in the area, a mini Safeway.

Also, and I got to say this, there are a number of little businesses who never seem to have customers yet stay open for years. How very curious… Those businesses, and the bars and restaurants for students are about the only stores around. And two blocks the other way is their Museum of Modern Art, The Tech Museum, and a four-star hotel.

It’s hard to tell if downtown San Jose is coming or going.

San Jose Musuem of Modern Art

Expensive new apartments in a really ugly building

Bedraggled Walgreens’s

Good Karma restaurant. Excellent vegan food. They thrive.

Continue Reading

Dinosaur computers in IRS and federal government

cobol programmer

The IRS has the oldest computers in use by the federal government. Before you go “haw, haw, why don’t they just upgrade”, well, it’s complicated.

1) Congress thinks itself oh so clever by slashing the IRS budget then complaining their systems are antiquated.

2) This is not news. The Commissioner of the IRS recently said they have systems written when JFK was president.

3) Upgrading dinosaur systems is seriously complicated. California has tried to upgrade their similarly antiquated state payroll systems twice and it was a massive failure both times.

4) Imagine if you will, fifty year old computer systems that have been added onto, modified, and dozens maybe hundreds of subsidiary systems created that feed data in and out of it and no one really knows how it works, the original programmers are dead or retired and documentation, don’t make me laugh. They probably don’t even have source code for some of the systems.

5) Now imagine that such systems handle vital financial information and that tens of millions would be pissed it the upgrade went wrong and they didn’t get their refund checks.

PS Lots of other federal agencies also have wheezingly old computer systems too.

Continue Reading

Canadian leftists vow move to US if Trump wins because Glorious Revolution

underpants gnomes

Finally, a brave and enlightened group of radicals in Canada understands what a wonderful opportunity a Trump victory would be for true revolution in the US!

Step 1. Trump creates chaos. U.S. rips apart. There might even be a constitutional crisis and riots in the streets. Woo-hoo!
Step 2. …
Step 3. Workers emerge victorious after smashing Trump and capitalism.

What’s that you ask, what is Step 2 and why does this sounds like the South Park underpants gnomes? Gosh, do I have to explain everything. Trump creates such repression that millions of people of color suffer, financial interests decide the US has gone bonkers and bail out, causing a stock market crash. Supply chains become disrupted. People starve and riot. Would not the opportunities for class warfare then be wondrous indeed? I mean millions may suffer so a few self-appointed lefties can lead the revolution, but hey, you gotta break eggs to make an omelet.

Fear not, the cadres at Worker’s Spatula in Canada are ready!

You see, in our analysis, a Trump victory would be a gift—a historical, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to undermine the great Satan and drastically reconstitute the very world in which we live. Yes, if Trump is elected, I call on all Canadians to move to the United States.

But after a Trump victory, how long can it possibly take before the contradictions of capitalism force radical change in one direction or other?

Oh, some might opine it could take years or decades and maybe never happen at all. And there might be lots of dead bodies in the meanwhile Clearly, such mockers are blind sheeple.

Continue Reading

On lesser evils, ethical hymens, and true morality

Saul Alinsky

In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky said during a bitter all-or-nothing strike, that he turned down using photos showing the CEO of the company they were striking against was gay (this in an era when that could kill a career) because he didn’t need to use them. But if he had to, he would have, because way too much was at stake, ethical hymen and purity of principles be damned.

In the real world, sometimes choices are blurry, less than optimal. However, doing nothing in the face of genuine threats because your precious little morals might get ruffled is the real immorality.

Quoting from Rules for Radicals:

“So far, so noble; but, if I had been convinced that the only way we could win was to use it, then without any reservations I would have used it.

What was my alternative? To draw myself up into righteous “moral” indignation saying, “I would rather lose than corrupt my principles,” and then go home with my ethical hymen intact? The fact that 40,000 poor would lose their war against hopelessness and despair was just too tragic. That their condition would even be worsened by the vindictiveness of the corporation was also terrible and unfortunate, but that’s life. After all, one has to remember means and ends. It’s true that I might have trouble getting to sleep because it takes time to tuck those big, angelic, moral wings under the covers.

To me that would be utter immorality.”

Continue Reading

KeyMe changes everything about making keys

KeyMe logo

Kiosks to make keys are already at Lowes, Walmart, etc. However KeyMe is leapfrogging ahead of the competition. Their kiosks can clone car keys, including transponders. Their smart phone apps can scan a key then mail you a duplicate. Key scans can be saved on their cloud and shared with trusted friends. A locksmith can duplicate a key based on the saved scan.

Clearly this can be hugely helpful as well as being an obvious security risk.If someone hacks into their cloud they theoretically could have access to keys worldwide. Their website says ‘Do Not Duplicate’ keys should not be cloned. However, just like existing key kiosks, they can’t prevent it from happening. Kiosks just look at the actual key part, not where the ‘Do Not Duplicate’ message is. This is probably also true of smart phone apps too.

And, um, if KeyMe can clone transponders, then who else can too?.

The shiny new KeyMe kiosk supports the majority of automotive keys, and can even clone transponders, saving car owners a fat stack of dollars in the process. Fob-style smart keys can cost a huge amount of money, but KeyMe’s versions range from $20 to $60.

Another tech-enabled innovation is the ability to save digitized versions of keys to the KeyMe cloud. If a customer needs another copy, it can be printed without the original key being present.

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes