Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dave Strom's Nov 2007 voter guide

(Edited on Nov 4; changed one vote for the San Mateo School Board)

Skimpy ballot this year. Just local people running for stuff. Local people are also the most challenging to investigate. I do love a challenge. I googled one of the candidates and opened a site. I read, and read, and read, but could not get a lot of info on the candidates. Then I read whose site it was: "San Mateo County Republican Party." Why am I not surprised? I did find newspaper sources (I have links to them) and to But you know what? I need to go to the San Mateo debates (city council and the like). If I go to this much trouble to investigate these guys, I should see them in real life once in a while.

Here is the link to my analysis of the candidates for School Board Member; San Mateo Union High School. My picks: Donald S. Havis (I love this guy, in a non-gay way) and Dave Pine.

Here is the link to my analysis of the candidates (pick 2) for School Board Member; San Mateo-Foster City School. My picks: Colleen Sullivan and Mark D. Hudak (incumbent).

Here is the link to my analysis of the candidates (pick 2) for City Council Member; City of San Mateo. My picks: Jack Matthews (incumbent) and John Lee (incumbent).

To make up my mind, I read my voter guide. Then I read (the San Mateo page) to find more information on local candidates and issues. I found one article about the city council that helped. Go to the San Mateo County Times, search for John Lee, and then find the article about "Incumbents grilled on growth."

And then, I read the San Mateo County Times Nov 4 picks for the San Mateo School Board and the Oct 26 picks for the City Council.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

iPhone SDK: YEAH! Now, how about a Mac Shuttle?

The iPhone finally opens to 3rd party native applications in Feb 2008. It's about time. The iPhone could not have survived the same idiocy that nearly killed the Mac.

Years ago, when the Mac first came out, it was running on floppy disks. Where I was working, the most prized Mac had 3 floppy drives: one for the OS, one for your application, and one for your data. Then IBM desktop computers started having this thing in them called a "hard drive". And some third party started selling them that you could hack them into your Mac. What was Apple's (maybe Jobs's) response? Something like, "They can't do that, we designed the Mac to not be able to do that!" Idiocy!

Apple was (and sometimes still is) way too fond of closed systems. Making the iPhone a closed system would have killed its growth and made it a tiny niche player. Just like the Macintosh was for a long long long time, and only recently is the Mac getting back its much deserved market share.

And as long as I am at it, there is a tendency for Steve/Apple to close Mac hardware. Except for the Mac Pro, it is nearly impossible to upgrade the hard drive or DVD burner in a Mac. (OK, the MacBook has an easily-replaced hard drive, and why can't the MacBook Pros work that way? Laptop hard drives can DIE!!!!)

When Steve introduced the new iMacs, he talked about how they are all in one unit: monitor, motherboard/CPU/GPU, hard drive, DVD burner. OK, that is fine, iMacs are great computers, but what about people who want to be able to upgrade without replacing EVERY LITTLE BIT OF HARDWARE IN THE WHOLE DARNED COMPUTER?!?!?! As for the other Mac desktops, the Mac Mini is too closed (upgrade its RAM? HAH!), and the Mac Pro is too expensive ($2500? GASP! says the average wallet).

I would like to see a Mac Shuttle. A blend of the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. Go to to get the idea. Shuttles are compact computer cases where the motherboard (USB and Firewire ports in front and back of the case), and power supply are built-in. You, a Windows desktop builder, add the rest (CPU, hard drive, monitor, etc.).

In my hopes and dreams, a Mac Shuttle would come fully built, like the Mac Pro. (As with the Shuttle case and the Mac Pro, you buy the monitor and speakers separately.) But you, the user, could easily replace the hard drive (they do wear out, and you always want a bigger one). You can replace that old DVD burner with Blu-Ray. You could even add a card or two, if you want to add video inputs or Firewire 1600 (someday). Maybe you can even upgrade the CPU and GPU. Cost: somewhere on the level of the iMac.

I would go for a Mac Shuttle so fast, it would make Jobs's head swim. An economical, very user-upgradeable Macintosh. But this is not even in the rumor mills. Sigh.

But I can dream, can't I? Or at least whine some.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Star Trek, Remastered. YEAH!!!!

You do know that the original Star Trek Episodes are being remastered, right?

Remastered as in redoing the old special effects? As in making the Enterprise orbiting a planet look like a real starship orbiting a real planet (not in a rather good-looking-but-still-plastic model orbiting a fuzzy orange ball in a really tight orbit cuz it was hard to get the proportions right in the 60s)? As in making the Doomsday Machine look really KILLER?!?!?!

I saw The Galileo 7 when I watched it late one night (TV volume very low, of course). I was thinking, "Hey, how come the planet from orbit looks so real? How come the shuttlecraft looks like it is really moving, instead of hanging from fishing lines? And there is no wax-paper-like ellipse around the shuttlecraft? HOW COME THIS LOOKS SO GOOD?"

I have always been a Trekkie. Even liked Voyager. (Loved the Doctor, LOVED when Seven-of-Nine walked down corridors, front AND back.) But the special effects on the original often looked cheesy. Like the Galileo 7 inching along in orbit, or the Constellation starship wobbling its plastic way down the Doomsday Machine's gullet.

The new effects replace the 60s starship models with 2007 computer models, and they look great. Check it out. (TVLand does not seem to show the remastered episodes; check out a more local station.) However, stuff like the Gorn from Arena (still a great episode, even with the cheap silver-sparkle Gorn eyes) still looks the same.

Look up the episode list. And check out The Doomsday Machine! (remastered)

Anyhow, about time I posted again. One more thing: these episodes are available on iTunes. I am likely to buy a few.

Star Trek still RULEZ!!!