The Passing of a Legend and No Not Steve Jobs…

Art in the form of code...

This Sunday, felt it only proper to take moment to recognize a life we’ve lost which has touched most all people on this planet and many simply just don’t know it.  As the passing of the charismatic as well as enigmatic Steve Jobs caught fire with the global media, the passing of Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie has not brought the same attention, however without Ritchie.  Well, let’s just say Steve would have never been Steve, as Dennis came up with two critical things in his life which provide for our technological life blood today.

The first is the “C” programming language which has become the standard of all languages no matter the operating system, all core applications as well as the OS’s are written in “C”.  This allowed [language and compiler] allowed us to write programs which could easily be converted into the computers native language making programs “portable” as well as fast.

The second was UNIX itself, as being the key operating system of the internet as until Windows came along it was really the only kid on the street and even after 30 years it still kicks windows butt for availability as it just runs.  In addition it also fueled the Linux revolution as well as Free BSD and on down the list.  Too least you think that it is reserved only for those anti-social geeks hanging in the back room with some unnatural Kung-Fu your wrong.  As if you’re a MAC user, just look down at your keyboard as you’re using UNIX!  MAC-OS is actually UNIX! This is why you don’t get virus’s and this is why Steve Jobs became Steve Jobs as without UNIX as a springboard, we wouldn’t have the MAC’s we have today.

Since I’m paying homage to Ritchie (this is sort of how he is known by us geeks) is in the day when I programmed, and would hit a spot of rough water if you will.  I would stop and ask myself “what would Ritchie do” and  this was all LONG before the thing about “what would Beakham do”.  As you look at Ritchie’s code, it truly is beautiful as in the way of art how he crafted the flow and logic of what became UNIX.  In fact it almost carries with it a musical quality as if one conjures up and image of the code in their mind, closes their eyes they assuredly will hear Mozart playing away…

The Perfect You, Maybe…

Couldn't have said it any better myself...

Was thinking the other day as what would the perfect “me” be like?  Hey, look a new self help book pops out of the mill almost every week which tells me I’m not living half of my life or maybe I’m living it too much and need to slow down.  Also who is this Timothy Ferriss guy anyway who’s telling me I need to work a 4 hour Work week and have a 4 Hour body any way?  Also while I’m thinking about it, how come you don’t see that big guy around anymore, aah what’s his name yes Antony Robins?  Remember him trying to sell you a bunch of tapes to awake your inter-giant while jumping around on stage with one of those Madonna mic-sets?

Then there are all these TV shows which also seem point to our lacking life’s like the Kardashian girls have anything going for them other than their big butts.  Then there is the checkout line rag paper which use to advertise some celebrity was giving birth to space aliens out of wedlock.    Instead, today they promote how fat we are, while offering this to die for triple chocolate cake recipe on page 36 as our taste buds deserve it.  Then there is Dr Phil, who is bound to find something wrong with our psyche and he lives the dream life with Robin and lives right sleeping in twin beds Lucy & Ricky style.

So I ask you, why can’t we just be happy?  Oh that’s right there is a book for that to, yes The Secret to Happiness or was it Happiness Happens, no it’s the Big Book of Happiness.   Aah the heck with it with as I will just be happy on my own sitting here watching the leaves turn colors and fall slowly to the ground as they are rustled by the autumn breeze.  Yea my doctor says I need to lose a few pounds as I’m not getting any younger; however I’m ok with it.  But the grand kids will be here tomorrow and its suppose to be sunny this weekend so it will make for a nice walk in the park.

You know after thinking about it, life is pretty simple as its only what you make out of it.  So if you make it crappy, you’re going to get crappy.  If you make it happy, well you get the idea and after the thousands I spent on self help books, well let’s say I donated them all to a better cause, the library…

If You Can’t Beat Them, Why Not Join Them…

If you can beat them, then you might as well join them and make a buck! This is why I love capitalism!

Well this is exactly what Lloyd Blankfien has decided to do with the Occupy Wall Street movement as being the King of Capitalism why not?  As Lloyd is the chief of the venerable investment firm of Goldman Sachs and to make lemonade of the lemons brought on by this movement they have kicked off the “Rage” fund to take advantage of the rising tide of social unrest.  Is this a great country or what where you can profit from the unhappiness of the populous even if that “unhappiness” is directed at the very people making the profit!

As this is the point which those seemingly unemployed folks gathering in Manhattan are missing as they have sex under tarps and pan-handle for drug money.  Here the old adage goes “the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer” as this like prostitution and attorneys have been with us since the dawn of time and will be till the sun turns into a red giant and consumes the earth.

The point is that this cycle will keep repeating and yes it is a cycle as there isn’t anything wrong with being wealthy, or even forbid filthy rich and so on as what people forget is these folks aren’t hiding this money in their mattress.  In fact it is just the opposite as these folks are investing this money in some shape, fashion or form.  As even Apple who is sitting on over 60 Billion of cash (yes they are more liquid then the US Federal Government) doesn’t have this money stuffed in the seat cushions of chairs in their lobby gathering dust.

This money is in the market working for them and thus making its way down to the “referentially” poor if you will as it has no choice.  So why are the rich hated so much is unclear as personally I love them, in fact a lot as the more rich people there are, the greater likely hood a little of each (with a little hard work) will make its way to me as hey I’m not a charity either.

As to steal another cliché, “how do you expect to soar with the eagles when you hang with the turkeys”.  As remember too, “birds of a feather flock together” so the first thing to do is if you don’t want to be a victim is stop hanging out with “victims”.  Yes it’s that easy, to change and if you think there is something elitist here think again, as this is America so people are free to be a victim just as they are also free not to be.  This is the option most of the western world enjoys is “choice” and it is one that too few people respect or appreciate as they would rather complain then change themselves for the  better…

Food…

The medium is the message and food is now the journey...

We as humans have to have it to live, it is an innate part of our rote existence as if there isn’t food there isn’t life, yet the world today is different and so is food.  Thus, if food is different than that must mean we as the human animal have also changed too.  As what has me thinking of this is the Hilton Hotel chain has just purchased a historic if you will hospitality property near me and made a deal with a regional college to open an attached “culinary” school to support the dinning pleasures of the guests.

With this the local media had a field day with the jobs this will bring and the trained Chefs which will be created for the rapidly growing culinary market.  All the while I read of this, the food channel was on in the background with Iron Chef America in full throws cooking up an ostrich egg and durian.  Yes it was a real challenge as I couldn’t make that one up with the durian!  However again this all got me to thinking of what the world has become in the years which I’ve walked its dirt roads.

As growing up in the 60’s, the venerable McDonalds was fine food dining at the time and don’t say this so tongue and cheek as many Gen-Y’s reading this might think.  For those old enough to remember that far back, 99% of the meals where prepared and consumed in the home during those times.  Eating out was an adventure reserved for special occasions, typically very special ones at that.

Yet today is different, and while this post isn’t intended document the chronology of the changes in culinary appetites if you will.  It is however about the journey we have taken and continue on today which interests me as for starters in the “day” there weren’t “Chefs”  per-se there were “cooks” and in fact it was considered a menial position at the time.  Also the act of carrying out the art of culinary creation was little lard (yea you remember that don’t you) left over from fatty grizzled up meat which was used as non-stick lubricant to fry up some side dish in a basic meat, starch combo.

However today there are high levels of sophistication in the process as Alton Brown tells us how beating pancake batter to much breaks down the glutton and therefore the proteins wont bind or something like that. As it is here that the epiphany strikes me two fold, as in the first the western world  on average has reached a point of affluence where we’ve bridged Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as if we look at food being on the bottom rung if you will, it  is a physiological need.  Whereas we’ve now bound it [food] with “creativity” which is a component at the top of the scale being part of self-actualization which allows for the “creation” of a complex journey.

Here the second prong of the epiphany comes to light as man craves a “journey” and will do whatever it takes to create one.  As in truth, a “journey” is nothing more than the genesis of a “story” as think about this, how many discussions do you have about meals?  Remember telling your good friend Bob about that great steak place, or that absolutely horrible meal at the new Chinese restaurant around the corner?  Yes Virginia, we have now reached a point where food is no longer simply a means of sustaining our bodies, however it has become a means of anthropological communication in the form of storytelling.  Much as the honey bee does a dance to share the location of a tasty meal with its hive members.  We too as the human animal seek to share the same feeding stories as regardless of the circumstance; the medium is the message…

Those Who Don’t Work Attend School…

Why so much???

Here more U.S. students are enrolled than ever before, yet the value of a college education is under attack. As  the perfect storm seems to be forming on the horizon, as soaring costs of education is driving student debt to record levels much as rising warm air feeds a tornado.   Where in the past, this “investment” typically paid off with what was seen as a “good” paying job allowing for repayment and betterment in life generally.  However with shrinking job prospects, economic sluggishness and global currency crises are leading many  critics to increasingly challenge whether college remains a worthwhile investment.

One of these people voicing their concern publicly is is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who proposes that higher education is becoming a “dangerous bubble”. As Thiel, who interestingly enough sports educational credentials which include a bachelor’s and law degrees from  the prestigious Stanford University, is putting some money where his mouth is by ponying up $100,000 in a two-year fellowships for 20 promising teenage entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas instead of attending college. As with any bubbles, college is “characterized by runaway costs where people are paying more and more for something whose quality hasn’t gone up,” Thiel challenged during an October 12 debate in Chicago sponsored by the website Intelligence Squared U.S.

Does Thiel have a point in what he is saying is the big question as look at what a college provides today to the cost verses the past and is there a return of investment? Its here that college advocates attempt to counter with the argument that higher education has never been more vital “as employers demand the advanced schooling and training that are required of workers in a global, technologically oriented economy”.  Here folks such as Vivek Wadhwa who holds research positions at Duke University, Harvard Law School and the University of California at Berkeley say “China and India are educating,”  and “If we’re going to dumb down America at the same time the world is getting smarter, we’ll become a Third World country,” notes Wadhwa.

While the point is valid and few people (other then Thiel) will dispute the economic value of at least some post-high school education, however what is being questioned is who is best served by a four-year college experience along with what are viable alternatives?  As for any system to be efficient it should provide a broad set of opportunities. Here the educational system is no different as what we are faced with is a rapidly changing workplace which are faced with changes driven from ceaseless automation coupled with the exportation of jobs off-shore make for challenges not seen before.  In short the times have changed, yet the old school (pardon the pun) have not changed.

As the price of education has without question been climbing at a breakneck pace as the tuition and fees at U.S. colleges and universities skyrocket some 439% in current figures (unadjusted for inflation) dollars from 1982 to 2007.  For comparison, if we look at another popular topic namely healthcare, we would see it rise 251% over the same period of time.  So instead of occupying Wall Street, why aren’t these folks conducting an old fashion college sit in…

1984 Has Come, But Not Gone…

America, home of the free and snooped upon...

As for the last two years, search giant Google has released comprehensive reports twice yearly regarding the frequency of take-down requests along with government data requests it has received in the various countries around the world. Here the latest data, released this week provides us with insight to the first half of 2011.  Well the results were surprising as the statistics showed that the United States continues to lead the rest of the world in spying on Google users.

According to the released documents, US law enforcement agencies made 5,950 separate requests for user data from 11,057 separate user accounts. In addition, also Google reported that it complied with the these requests 93 percent of the time and was almost a 40 percent increase in the number of requests compared to the same period one year earlier. For comparison on a per capita basis, France weighed in with a mere 1,300 request followed up by the United Kingdom with only 1,273.  Outside of these three, other nations remained far behind, however who was really left?  China?

For takedowns, both Brazil and Germany were the leaders primarily due to the popularity of Orkut in Brazil, were Google has addressed 224 requests to “takedown” 689 various items from Google services in Brazil. Whereas in Germany they received a total of 125 request’s for the removal of 2,405 various items.  Interestingly enough 1,585 were related to allegedly defamatory search results, which leads one to wonder about the freedom of speech in the farther land.

However what was of greater interest is this gives us a peek into how Google deals with censorious issues around the globe. For example here at home in the United States, Google received many requests from [unnamed] law enforcement agencies to remove videos which allegedly depicted police brutality taking place or the defamation of police officers. Here Google claims that it declined these requests.

Yet on the down side in India, Google was pressured to remove YouTube videos which “displayed protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders.” Per Google, they declined to remove the majority of the videos, however agreed to blocked access within India based upon cases where local law requires it.

One of the countries which I found interesting was Japan as being a nation of 127 million, Google fielded only a microscopic 75 user data requests and no takedown requests.  However what drives this difference is Google just not as popular in the land of the rising sun, or does it simply reflect legal and cultural differences between Japan and Western nations…

The 80/20 Rule Is So Outdated…

Houston it appears we have a problem as too much is in the hands of too few...

As it was then venerable Vilfredo Pareto who back in 1906 observed that the majority of the land (80 percent) in Italy was owned by the minority or roughly 20% of the population.  The Basis which he used to develop this principle was that he observed a mere 20% of the pea pods [plants] in his garden contained the majority say 80% of the peas.

From Pareto’s pea pods this has grown into a common axiom that “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients”.  As from a math-magical perspective, we can say where something is shared among a “sufficiently large set of participants”, there must be a number we will call “k” which sits between 50 and 100 such that we can take “k%  by (100 − k)% of the participants”. Here the number “k” is likely to vary from 50 (in the case of equal distribution, i.e. 100% of the population have equal shares) to nearly 100 (where a small number of participants end up accounting for the majority of all of the resource). From this we see there is nothing overly special or magical about the number 80% mathematically as in a systems perspective, yet many “real systems” have “k” somewhere around this region of intermediate imbalance in distribution and thus the rule of thumb.

So why you ask are we visiting this turn of the century renaissance economist today?   Well blame it on Forbes as they ran a story which got me thinking titled “The 147 Companies That control Everything” as this yarn is about three systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology located in Zurich which have taken a database listing and amazing 37 million companies along with investors worldwide and they modeled all 43,060 transnational corporations and share ownerships which link each of them.

The results of this study were referenced (by Forbes) from the New Scientist and were stated as:

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions.”
As here we see control is no longer 1:4 (or 20/80) as it is now 1:40 or ten times the ratio!  While the New Scientist didn’t release the entire list of the 147 companies the top 20 which was shared contain all holding and investment companies.   Wow, things that make you go hmmmm for sure as I’m not battling capitalism here, however pointing out a flaw in its application.  As in the world of genetics, our friend Darwin called out diversity drives success in survival of the fittest.

So with a 1:40 ratio as you can guess diversity is gone and second will bet you that there further kurtosis in the 1% numbers meaning within this 1% there is an even “higher” distribution meaning 1:60 or 1:80 ratio exist “inside” those numbers. Ok, your eyes are glazing over so what is the point here your asking?

Simple, when too few own to much, their patterns tend to match as do you remember the melt down of 2008?  Yes Virginia too many of these same folks made the “same” move and when one fell they all fell like a house of cards.  So this tells me we are no better [risk] wise then before as the markets lack diversity, and the lower the diversity the greater the chance to be visited by a per-verbal Black Swan event as in 2008.

So please remain seated and buckle those seat belts tightly as we could be looking at some rough air in our future flight plans…

Life In A Fish Bowl….

We are only limited by our decisions about our environment...

It was Ed Bartell, who taught me an important lesson in life, as Ed owned a small  tropical fish shop and as a youth as most do I enjoyed tropical fish and aquariums.  While I didn’t know him well, he however appeared to be a retiree just looking for something to pass his time and keep a connection to people.  However, it was on one day that I was visiting him with my mother to pick up supplies when I noticed a large fish in an equally and unusually large tank.  When I asked Ed about this, he said fish would typically grow in reference to the size of the tank which the fish lived.

Not only was this interesting to me, it also made sense as the larger the tank, the more over all “resources” would be available for the fish, as keep in mind unlike the sea of air we live in.  The Aquarium is a (limited) sea of liquid in a ocean of air meaning the amount of available oxygenated environment was limited.  Additionally, because of this limitation, there is also a trickle-down effect which happens too because of this. Here other variables such as light as well as the amount of food also disperse in a similar ratio to the environment.

This intrigued me as if one understood the things which limited them; they then would have a chance to change those items to their benefit.  Therefore removing the restrictions which restricted them, an opportunity the fish contained in his liquid world doesn’t have.  However for us human animals, even given this opportunity and understanding we seem to miss out on taking advantage of this cognitive ability.

We seem to stay put in the same area where we are raised even though like the fish bowl there may not be the opportunities for employment there by limiting our growth. Education too, as many times we fear venturing away from the nest to educate ourselves be it formal as in university, or informal as traveling to far off lands to experience a new culture.  Instead many of our norms keep us planted much like the fish in the bowl, where we attempt employ and social programs if I can borrow from a popular cliché as “we attempt to bring the mountain to Mohammed” rather than “bringing Mohammed to the mountain“.  As the later is far more efficient than the prior when it comes to investment and return…

Psychopaths Say The Strangest Things…

The "Word" is truly mightier then the sword...

As language is the universal “tell”, it makes sense that the better we understand its construction, the more effective we will be.  To this end, researchers at Cornell University conducted a study which analyzed the speech patterns of 14 imprisoned clinically psychopathic male murderers where each were individually asked to describe their crimes in full detail.

The result of the interviews were then subjected to computer analysis by the researchers and the results were interesting to say the least.  As it showed the psychopaths tended to use more conjunctions like “because,” “since” or “so that,” which implied they believed the crime “had to be done” to obtain a particular goal.  What struck me as somewhat scary is isn’t this what most of us do every day to earn a living?  As if you’re not doing something to achieve a goal, than why do it correct?

To this later point, in conjunction the researchers also found that the psychopaths tended to use twice as many words relating to their physical needs.  Examples were things such as food, sex, or money, yet in turn when the researchers studied non-psychopaths they found the use of more words focusing on social needs that included family, religion, and spirituality.

From this research it was clear that psychopathic murderers use words which reveal a high level of selfishness, detachment, along with emotional flatness, in their speech patterns.  While this post might be perceived as a helpful tutorial to identify (male) workplace psychopathic murders.  In actuality the goal ( dare I use that word) is share the dynamics as “man” being a human animal, and his words are a gateway to his psyche.

As in prior posts, I’ve on the written on the topic of magic words, “tells” and reading movements to establish truths and lies.  So this “clinical” research adds the knowledge base of reading the human animal like an open book.  As even as basic understanding will not only help us competitively, however personally too.  As if we just listen to ourselves (which people typically don’t) we can find out a lot about how we really feel as many times we suppress the thoughts we don’t want to deal with, yet we allow them to manifest via our words.

In fact, not only do we do it, others which we interact with on a daily bases do also.  Where understanding what is really under pinning a conversation is in fact more critical then the conversation itself…

Getting Things Done…

As Larry the Cable Guy would say, Let's git-r-done!

You know if I had a dime for every time in my life I heard that “people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”, I would not be writing this blog as I would have more money than I would know what to do with.  So, ok maybe then I would be still blogging however it would be about how to spend that much money, as the media of late seems to think the United States is packed with the filthy with wealth stolen from the backs of others.  However I digress as I just finished reading a BBC story on all the (implied) undeserving rich “risk takers” in New York.

Yet back on track, since that’s not the case and here we both sit, figured it would be good to further wax about getting things done and how it might work other than quoting clichés.  As one of the fatherly keys I was given as a youth was to “take small bites”, and I’m not talking meals here.  As the task my father had given me was to break up this large section of concrete walk way and haul it way to make room for a new one.  Well needless to say I stood there in awe of the seemingly immense task ahead of me and stated to pound here ad there in the massive are.  After leaving me to my own demise, my father returned to check my progress.

Well you can guess he was not pleased with what he found, however to his credit, instead of getting mad and delivering one of those “dad” type lectures.  He instead took the time to educate me, he explained “son break your work down n to small pieces”, this way he explained you’re not blinded by the bigger task at hand and if properly managed the small pieces you will surely achieve your goals. To further this he broke one slab and carried it away saying, see doing it this way, you can also see the fruits of your work which motivates you to keep going.

To me this was a viral lesson, as taking a single “small bite” provided not only the path to the next, however more importantly the motivation to move to the next.  In life, I’ve found that be it the manual demolition of a sidewalk, or the construction of a half a billion Euro data center, it all works the same.  As when approaching any large task, the first thing I do is look for the logical break points to create those bites.  I also look out for that face my father saw in me that morning over 4 decades ago in my teammates and instead addressing it with discourse; I take the same route my father took with me being that of education by example.  As if you will to roll up your sleeves and do things which teach, that is worth all the harsh words which are bound up by Webster.

However you know something?  While I promised to stay away from clichés, I didn’t promise to avoid a riddle, as how do you eat an elephant (assuming in the first place you wanted to)?  Yes, one bite at a time!  Bonn Appétit…

To Tell a Story…

Who invests in stories any more?

Anthropologically, stories are very important to us as being the human animal we are the only species which possess the ability to communicate complex social concepts from generation to generation.  As while the greater animal kingdom provides mechanical means to transmit stories say in the way of the ant which secrete pheromones to pass information or the dance of the bee.  The message is not embedded with emotion and neither is it passed via generations building a knowledge base for each proceeding generation to leverage verses relearning.

As this is a key aspect, the ability to not need to re-learn critical pieces of information, as for example just think if man had to keep (generation over generation) relearning to create fire as well as its value?  Instead, the next generation can be “taught” the rote fact and focus the extra time on creating improvements and embellishing upon the prior learning’s again passing these along via story.

In these stories, we also interweave “emotions” which assist in embedding the “rote” learning by tickling our fancy if you will as when we bridge the world of non-fiction with that of fiction we develop a powerful duel hemispherical combination of synaptic significance.  However the point here isn’t so much the importance of the art of storytelling, however the way the telling of a story is changing in our modern digitally driven world.

As we forgo the printed media of the past for our new fangled digital gadgets with all their bells and whistles are we forgetting the “story”?  As you see every day venture capitalists doling out money for tech start ups which have no clue how to make money on a repetitive basis.  Yet how many invest in the art of storytelling, as if anything this appears to be heading backwards as the common man enters the story telling world the “value” of the word is changing drastically in fact one could say it’s in a economic free fall with no bottom in sight.

While in a way this is a good thing as the old machine limited the message and Marshall McLuhan said so insightfully some five decades ago, “The Medium is the Message” meaning you can say what you want however it will still be shaped by the medium in which its delivered to the consumer.  As radio with its medium limited only audio words, left the individuals mind to paint its own picture, while television on the other hand robbed us of that individual enjoyment by providing us with not only the word but also force feeding us a common set of images.

Now with the Internet we have the printed word as in the book, the spoken word as in the radio and the moving pictures as in TV, all like with the ability to actively change these at our will taking another truth (story) and reshaping to our remix if you will.  However again who is investing in the story itself as the old word Media Barons implode fewer seem to be seeking the formal world as way of life as instead it seems to be, becoming craft of a second class nature and while digitally we may be all dressed up, we assuredly be lacking some place to go unless things change…

What Would We Do Without Time…

Time is something which belongs to all of us, lets keep it that way...

Interesting thought isn’t it, as I’m not referring to the early Steven King version of the Langoliers where some strange creatures nip unknowingly at our heels eating away the past.  This story is set more in the present day and where else but a courtroom too. As judge recently issued a take-down notice for the database which all the computers on the internet depend upon for understanding what time zone they are in as well as what the “difference” is between them as they shift to accommodate the various “daylight saving” schemes around the world.

As think about this, you’re trying to schedule a meeting across time zones, or airlines are attempting to manage flights and so on.  Here the implications of which were serious, yet the database was maintained as a part time enterprise by the National Institute of Health.  Yea go figure how did NIH end up with this rather then someone like NIST?

While most [computer] systems “cache” this information meaning they store it locally on their hard drives.  It must however be updated upon change and there still must be only one source to arbitrate caching conflicts between systems or the result could be disastrous.

Yet the judge’s gavel went down and the database was brought off line all because an Astrology Software provider claimed that the “data” in the database was proprietary and they owned the copyright.  Again this was an example of the system going to far as no one should “own” time nor the historical referencing of it.  Too many simple things which are of great importance are being abused by an overly hungry legal system which assuredly will result in a decline if not pseudo abolishment of innovation.

On the good news side of the equation, it now appear that even with its legal warts, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) our friends who manage IP addresses and Domain Names for the internet will be taking over the care and feeding of this while quiet, yet very important database.

This however leaves me to ask, how many other important things are out there sitting on computers under someone’s desk humming away unknowingly to the rest of us?  Also where will all this intellectual property nonsense end as the “Occupy Wall Street” folks need to pick up stakes and head to the Supreme Court steps or the Capital Building in Washington DC and do some real good for the economic climate of this country by putting an end to this nonsense of patent and copyright abuse. As for the rest of the world (namely Asia), they laugh at us all the while selling knock off iPhone’s and we wonder why no one wants to do business in the United States…