Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Jocks At Top Universities

Friday, January 8th, 2016

I love sports.  Pro football, basketball and baseball. The breeding ground for basketball and football is the college campus, and while there have been many discussions regarding what exactly defines a college athlete, and should they be compensated beyond room, board and tuition, that remains a work-in-progress.

A recent quote from Washington Redskins wide receiver, DeSean Jackson, almost made me lose my lunch.  Now keep in mind, Jackson attended the University of California at Berkeley. Cal as it is better known, has been touted as the finest public institution in the world.  Yes they have a football team, and apparently they look the other way when it comes to admissions for these players.

“I don’t feel no pressure, man. I been feeling pressure since I was a little kid walking down the street in Crenshaw.”

Really? Berkeley? 3 years at Berkeley?

I really have no problem with schools letting in premier athletes at a lower standard than the average student, but if a school does adopt this practice, make the kid attend school and help the poor guy or gal speak properly as to not embarrass themselves and the school.  Most of these kids will never turn pro, let along get quoted by ESPN.

DeSean Jackson, Cal. There are 1000’s more just like Jackson who got screwed by their respective colleges because they lost their NCAA eligibility to suit up.

Make a scholarship just that. Put the kids on a path to graduate – regardless of eligibility. Yes, they received tuition, but they also tore knee ligaments, broke fibulas and  got concussions – all to get the school’s name and mascot across the bottom of the screen on ESPN, Fox and Comcast.

It takes one college to step up and start this….Cal?  Stanford? Iowa State?

 

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Search Yourself On Google – What You Find Will Scare You

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Privacy is big business, and your privacy is waning by the day. Basically, you, me, your friend next door or the cubicle over, have no privacy.  Not from your employer, not from your neighbor or just about anyone wanting to snoop into your business. Identity theft is also a big business and you don’t want to be a customer.

If you have a common last name, say Johnson, Nguyen or Sanchez, you can likely fly under a lot of radar, unless you have a bizarre first name like Moon Unit or LeBron. If, however, you have a surname that isn’t overly taken, good luck keeping any sort or anonymity.

Do a Google search of yourself, putting parenthesis around your first and last name, and chances are you will be shocked at what you find – likely several pages of links to other websites that have everything from your home address and UNLISTED phone number, to your unpublished cell phone number, your employers for as long as you’ve been gainfully employed, and oh so much more.

A recent search of myself turned up my recent car purchase including the vehicle’s VIN number. The only places that have the VIN on file are the California DMV, my insurance company and the car dealer. Only my car dealer has worked on the car, so there are no fly-by-night garages that did an oil change. I don’t have any tickets – parking or moving violations, so law enforcement didn’t leak the data.  CarFax surely has the VIN in its database, but it isn’t tied to me.

So, where did this private information come from and become public?  No idea, but I am trying to find out and plug the leak.

Social networks like LinkedIn are great platforms for professional business connections and seeking new employment, however unless you make your profile private, everything in your profile is indexed by Google and Bing, meaning all your jobs, schools and city of residence are easily found by anyone in seconds.

Posting pictures on Facebook can tell anyone with a modest amount of tech skills where you’ve been and where you live by checking the source of the photos you post.

“Checking In” on FourSquare tells people you aren’t home, and when your account is linked to Twitter and Facebook, you are broadcasting the fact you and the family are having pizza the next town over tonight.

Ancestry.com is a scary place if you are even slightly paranoid of being hacked. There is a good chance the Mormon Church, which owns the website, has your marriage date, your spouse’s name and the names and ages of your kids on file.

There are literally dozens of sites that data mine your personal information for profit. Most, however, will remove you from their files if you make a written request – assuming the website posts contact information so you can actually reach an administrator.

Don’t take this lightly – when a website you’ve never heard of has your car’s VIN, there’s no telling what else is floating out there.  Search, locate and remove. Do it now!

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Tattoos

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Tattoos seem to be everywhere these days.  Some say  they are socially acceptable. Celebrities have them, but they don’t need to find a job. Truck drivers, mechanics, tattoo artists, plumbers and janitors have tattoos.  I suppose there are some accountants, architects, computer executives, stock brokers and bank executives that also have tattoos, but I would hedge to guess the number is less than the previous group. Can’t imagine getting past a PWC interview with THUG LIFE across your knuckles.

I, personally, do not like tattoos. I could never take a girl seriously in a dating scenario, if she had a tattoo. I think it looks cheap.

My personal opinion, please note.

It seems most ex-cons have tattoos.

Starbucks makes their employees who have tattoos cover them. Good for them.

I’ve told my daughter that if she ever has a visible tattoo the best job she will ever get is that of a waitress at Denny’s.

I don’t like tattoos, can you tell?

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Don’t Blame Me, Porn is 37% of The Web

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Think about this the next time you read this blog and are pissed off about something I write, porn makes up roughly 37 percent of the total number of web pages.  Yes, more than one-third of all the Internet is porn!

My feeling is that anything that doesn’t cost me tax dollars, is not illegal, does not harm anyone physically or emotionally and is done in the privacy of your own home is cool with me.  In other words, if there is a single senator from your home state that wants to show his Wiener to some willing partner on Yahoo Chat, knock yourself out.

That said, if you want more non-porn to populate the cloud, read more blogs, comment on said blogs, patronize news sites, join social networks and create pages, upload pictures to Flickr, or stop sneaking a look yourself!

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Recycle Your Old Cell Phone at an EcoATM

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

I just came across something pretty cool, an ATM-type machine that allows you to recycle – OK, sell, your old cell phone.

Called EcoATM, the machine scans your old cell phone and calculates how much it’s worth and pays you right then and there.  I’ll admit, I haven’t seen one of these machines in person yet, but I do have several old phones that are collecting dust around the house that if Ican get $5.00 or $10.00 for, I’d be pretty stoked!

According to their website, they have locations in Southern California, on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA and for some reason, two locations in Nebraska.  Nebraska?!

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Grocery Store Plastic Bag Ban

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Politicians have nothing else to do. Never mind the budget overruns, out of whack pensions for public employees or transit systems that are terminally broken. None of these matter as much as stopping me from having my milk put into a bag made from plastic at the grocery store.  It started in San Francisco, likely the most dysfunctional city in America, and has filtered south to San Jose, a city where bootleg DVDs and handbags can be found in a dozen ethnic shopping malls around town without a second glance from city hall.

Years ago stores phased out paper bags because they killed trees and plastic was cheaper. Now plastic is evil and paper is coming back, or to some stores, such as Ikea, bags have been eliminated, period. We are supposed to bring a re-usable bags. A bag I am supposed to buy.

Never mind the inconvenience or how I will get 4 gallons of milk upstairs from the garage, plus my groceries. Never mind the cans of green beans rolling around my trunk. Never mind that I now have to buy trash bags – plastic trash bags. Today, I reuse these bags for garbage and recycling, but that is probably evil, too.

grocery-store-plastic-bags-banned

grocery-store-plastic-bags-banned

The micro-management of our elected politicians is getting more and more bizarre, and we as a population seem to tolerate this behavior. The silent majority needs to take a stand to the so-called “correct left” and say enough is enough: do something useful like eliminating all government pensions for those who don’t teach our children or risk their life on our behalf so we can stop living in a deficit world.

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Silicon Valley Start-Up Companies Thrive Without Unions

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

The State of California is broke. Santa Clara County is broke, and so is the City of San Jose.  Most cities and counties in California have nothing in their coffers, and that can be said for most cities and counties regardless of their state.  We all know the reason(s) and we all know that next to nothing can be done, since most politicians bow to the unions that get them elected. A few, like San Jose mayor, Chuck Reed, have the guts to say enough is enough, and threaten the unions that fill city hall with pay cuts or layoffs.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Fought City Hall Unions

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Fought City Hall Unions

Despite this mess that we all live in, start up companies all around us are thriving. It’s not Google or eBay that I am talking about, but new companies that are making huge splashes, such as Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and FourSquare.  These companies, if they were children would be in Elementary School, but are taking the Internet by storm.

Facebook is now the 2nd most trafficked website in the world, according to Alexa.com, and Twitter helped Barack Obama “tweet” his way into the White House.

These companies all hire bunches of really smart engineers and developers to create cool concepts and interfaces. They work crazy hours and get gobs of low-priced stock options that may or may not ever pay off.  It’s a gamble, certainly, but with so many companies having hit the proverbial jackpot of an IPO or an acquisition, the chance of becoming stupid-rich is pretty compelling.

Did I mention that none of these jobs are unionized, and none of these people have a pension? There is no shop steward and no hall meetings and dues to pay. Nope. These really smart engineers and developers are paid based on their level of experience and what they produce. If they are no good, they don’t get the job in the first place, and if they suck after they get hired, they will be let go.  If the company folds, which so many start-ups do, they lose their job and need to look for the next opportunity.  There is no place to hide.

And this is why Silicon Valley has created 95% of the technology we use in our daily life, union-free. If you disagree with this statement, just think what brought you to this page in the first place and read through this list of companies located within a 50-mile radius of where I currently sit: Apple, Adobe, Intel, AMD, HP, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Oracle, eBay, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Friendster, HiFive, Cisco, Symantec, Tivo, Netflix, Seagate, NVIDIA, Tesla, and hundreds more.

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Ike’s Place Great Sandwiches Terrorizing The Neighborhood

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Only in San Francisco a company can become successful and then get sued by its neighbors for being too successful and get evicted by their landlord.

Ike’s Place, a deli which is located in the heavily gay Castro District is a Yelp.com darling.  They have out-of-this-world ratings and comments, and allegedly put together some of the greatest sandwiches this side of the memory of Little Woman on 29th and Clement.

After the general public started raving about Ike’s on Yelp, the lines started and people who wouldn’t normally venture to that part of town were taking up parking spots and, heaven forbid, spending money.  The tenants in the upstairs units complained about the increased traffic, and the local business decided to call their lawyers and sue Ike.

Ike’s lease is supposed to run until 2018, but the landlord wants him out on his ear so he can find a less successful tenant.  His neighboring business want him out so they have less foot traffic of people they could potentially monetize.  Ike’s neighbors accuse of him of “terrorizing the neighborhood.”

The good part is that it’s nearly impossible to evict anyone in San Francisco, the really stupid part is that his neighbors, instead of opening a lemonade stand and profiting from the traffic, they decide to litigate.  I say we begin a boycott on his neighbors; your thoughts?!

Ike's Place Deli in San Francisco Castro District is being evicted

Ike's Place Deli in San Francisco Castro District is being evicted

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Meg Whitman Fights Claims of Racism and Job Outsourcing

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay is running for governor of California, we all know this.  We also know that eBay grew leaps and bounds under her watch, and made her and many eBay employees and investors phenomenally wealthy.

The fact that people from around the world, from all walks of life and all political slants utilize the eBay platform to earn a living, seems be lost on Democrats who would elect a French poodle over any Republican, regardless of their pedigree.

When opponents cannot come up with any real beef against a candidate they grasp for straws, so let’s toss the racism card at Meg, since after all, she wants to control illegal immigration from Mexico.  A perennial candidate for office, Stewart Alexander, makes these “Meg Whitman is a racist” claims for no other reason than because he can.  He claims, and I quote, “Whitman’s position is racist and discriminates against Mexican-Americans.”

Immigration Control Benefits Mexican-Americans

Huh? If anything, it helps Mexican-Americans in the view of non Mexican-Americans in that there won’t be a question if they are here “legally” or if they are undocumented.

There is a huge difference between immigrating legally and going through the proper procedures versus hopping a fence and avoiding border patrols.

This leads me to a man named Osama Bedier.  Osama, who?!  Osama Bedier is the Vice President of New Ventures at the eBay subsidiary, PayPal.com.

osama-bedier-paypal-ebay

Osama-Bedier-VP of PayPal-eBay

Would a woman hire a man named Osama if she were a xenophobe? Or did she hire Mr. Bedier because he was the best candidate?  That is something few democrats grasp, Silicon Valley and start-up companies work on merit – if you are great, you are greatly rewarded.  If you are mediocre or lazy, you’re gone.  There are no unions here.

Another jab at Whitman has been that since she is pro-business, she will outsource all jobs to a far-away land, like India, and all the “real” jobs will vanish.  Something to chomp on here – ex-eBay and PayPal employees have spawned companies such as YouTube.com. LinkedIn.com, Yelp.com, and Slide.com to name just a portion of the long list.  In other words, she hired really smart people who left to start new companies that also hire really smart people and create more jobs.

Meg Whitman will likely become California’s next governor, despite taunts and jabs from democrats that have no muscle behind them.

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Stanford Grad Damon Dunn for California Secretary of State

Monday, April 19th, 2010

It’s funny, Democrats want the lower class of our society to believe they are their only friends, and that without government, they are doomed to wallow in their misery for generations.

Democrats want us to believe that without social programs we will all wilt and die.  Now some programs are good, don’t get me wrong, but they are a crutch not a solution. Food stamps have helped many many families get through rough patches in their lives, but it is a short-term solution not a lifestyle as some have made it.

When I see a person who has come from nothing and has become something and someone, I am always curious to hear the story.  How did they do it?  What did they do differently that others could model?

In most cases it comes down to two things: education and hard work.  There are no shortcuts.  I tell my 7 year-old daughter this every day: “Do what you have to do first, and then you can do what you want to do.”  TCB – Take Care of Business.

This leads me to Damon Dunn, who is running for California’s Secretary of State.

Ex NFL Player Damon Dunn for California Secretary of State

Stanford grad Damon Dunn for California Secretary of State

Damon, who spent part of his childhood living in a trailer and who’s mother is just 16 years his senior, was an outstanding athlete but also a superior student who was accepted to Stanford, arguably the finest university in the world.  Yes, he played football, but unlike so many underprivileged athletes that let their scholarship go to waste, he took full advantage of his surroundings.

Damon Dunn suited up for a few games in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, but was never a star and never made any real money playing ball.  He realized he was essentially a fringe player and retired in his mid-20’s to pursue a business career, and it appears to to have been the correct choice.

Just 34 years-old, Damon Dunn appears to be a rising star within the Republican party with good looks, an athletic build, charming smile and a real speaking style – a complete opposite of the lecturing college professor-style that currently resides in Washington D.C.

I look for my politicians to be well rounded, to have held a real job and not be trust fund babies.  I want to be able to relate.  If you are looking for the future of the Republican party, it might be the guy who has overcome hardship through the virtues that have made America great – self-reliance, perseverance, not quitting, regrouping when something isn’t working and trying something else and most of all, hard work.

For what it’s worth, Damon Dunn has my vote.

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